DENNY HAMLIN/No.20 Toyota is on the pole for Saturday afternoon’s Able Body Labor 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. His quick lap of 26.872/133.968 mph was close but didn’t surpass the 2004 lap of 26.902/133.819 mph set by KYLE BUSCH.
This is Hamlin’s second pole this season and fourteenth in 188 NNS races. He also had the pole for this race last year.
The weather was overcast, cool and windy, not typical fall Phoenix weather. Soon after it rained a bit, so NASCAR Sprint Cup second practice was canceled.
However, with the track dried after the jet dryers were turned loose, the schedule is on time. “Happy Hour” final practice will start as planned, followed by the NNS 200-lap race.
Second through fifth fastest NNS drivers were CARL EDWARDS/No.60 Ford; KEVIN HARVICK/No.33 Chevrolet; KYLE BUSCH/No.18 Toyota and CLINT BOWYER/No.29 Chevrolet.
Harvick and Busch are among the over-achievers this weekend, running all three NASCAR races. Harvick won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday night, with Busch runner-up.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER/No.12 Dodge was the top Rookie qualifier in eleventh place.
Four drivers failed to make the show: CHRIS LAWSON/No.52; BLAKE KOCH/No.05; MORGAN SHEPHERD/No.89; and DARYL HARR/No.31. All four were Chevrolets.
Chevrolet still has the most NNS cars in the race – 19; Ford has 11, Toyota has nine and Dodge has four.
ALEX TAGLIANI/No.81 Dodge hit the wall on his second Qualifying lap. “I was caught up in the car hopping in Turn Four. I lost the back of the car trying to make the best of it.” The car sustained severe body damage, with the passenger door being just about the only unscathed panel on the car.
Tagliani will start forty-first, based on Owner Points. He will race the McDonald Motorsports backup car, which is setup for a one and a half mile race track – “not really good for the ‘short’ one-mile oval at PIR. It has small brakes.” Most of the team’s efforts are on that set up task now, with the rest sorting out the damaged tub. Tag said “This is the worst situation in racing. But, (he said with a smile) we will try our best.”
The race is scheduled to start at 2:30 PM local time, 4:30 PM EST, shown live on ESPN2.