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Dylan Kwasniewski claims first Nationwide pole at Daytona

Dylan Kwasniewski
Dylan Kwasniewski
Getty Images for NASCAR

Dylan Kwasniewski claimed his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series pole for his first series start during an abbreviated qualifying session on Friday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for Saturday's DRIVE4COPD 300. His fastest lap time came in a 46.856 seconds/192.078 mph. Kyle Larson will start second, alongside Kwasniewski on the front row.

"For my first time at Daytona to qualify on the pole, it's an unexplainable feeling," Kwasniewski said. "I can't believe I'm actually sitting up here (in front of media members in the track's media center)."

After a slight rain delay, the first round of the new-format, three-round knockout qualifying session got underway. During the round, there was a caution for Ryan Reed, and then Bobby Gerhart and Joe Nemechek had laps disallowed for breaking NASCAR's new no-tandem-drafting rule. As a result of the violation, both drivers were required to head to pit road.

The yellow flag waved again, this time for more rain, with about six minutes remaining in the first of what was supposed to be three rounds. The red flag was then shown, halting the action completely.

With qualifying ended by rain, NASCAR set the starting grid for Saturday's race by times of laps already completed.

Sprint Cup Series regulars Danica Patrick and Kyle Busch will share the second row, while Elliott Sadler and Matt Kenseth line up behind them in the fifth and sixth spots.

"I thought it was pretty wild," Sadler said of the new qualifying procedure. "I think, sitting at the end of pit road, there was like 30 cars and I'm like, 'Yeah, if somebody spins through the grass right now, we're all in big trouble.' I think that's pretty wild. Our first attempt at it, but it was a lot hairier than I thought."

Seventh through 10th at the start will be Jamie Dick, Jeff Green, Johnny Sauter and David Starr.

"I am proud of our team effort, and I believe that we showed today that TriStar Motorsports has a lot to offer this season," Green said.

With 49 cars entered, nine drivers failed to earn a starting spot. Those drivers include David Ragan, Tanner Berryhill, Chris Buescher, Willie Allen, Matt Carter, Matt DiBenedetto, Carl Long, Carlos Contreras and Clay Greenfield.

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