Brad Keselowski has NASCAR's new "knockout qualifying" format figured out. One day removed from winning the pole for the weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, he posted a lap time of 26.855 seconds in the second round of qualifying on Saturday to claim the pole starting spot for the afternoon's Blue Jeans Go Green 200 Nationwide Series race at the track.
"It's an honor to drive a car that runs that fast," Keselowski said of his No. 22 Ford Team Penske Nationwide Series car.
He'll be joined on the front row for the race on Saturday afternoon by Nationwide regular Brian Scott.
"The No. 2 car put up a heck of a run there at the end," Keselowski said of Scott.
Keselowski went out early in each of the two rounds of Nationwide qualifying, just as he did for Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, and posted fast times. In the second round, Scott was one of the last drivers out on the race track and posted his best lap with just a minute and 20 seconds remaining in the 10-minute session.
Kyle Busch was the fastest in the first round of 30 minutes. In that round, Busch, like Keselowski went out early to post his fastest lap. Another Sprint Cup regular, Matt Kenseth, was second-fastest in the first round. At the end of the first round, the fastest 12 drivers advanced to the 10-minute round to re-qualify for top-12 starting spots. Those drivers included Busch, Kenseth, Keselowski, Scott, Chris Buescher, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott, last weekend's race winner Regan Smith, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Elliott Sadler and Kyle Larson.
Through second-round qualifying, Busch claimed the third starting spot and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kenseth the fourth to start the race on the second row. Dillon rounded out the top-five.