Sure, it’s been four years since Kyle Larson has competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but it mattered very little on Friday as he rocketed to the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180 at Road America.
Larson turned a quick lap of 134.318 sec., which equates to a 108.495 mph average speed around the 4.048-mile road course in Wisconsin.
This pole marks the fifth of Larson’s career in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition and it’s his first-ever NXS pole on a road course.
The No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro was more than seven tenths of a second faster than Ty Gibbs, who will line up alongside Larson on the starting grid on Saturday.
Riley Herbst, Cole Custer, Sam Mayer, Sheldon Creed, Noah Gragson, Sammy Smith, Tyler Reddick and Austin Hill rounded out the top-10 in qualifying, and were the rest of the drivers that made it into Round 2 of qualifying.
For Gragson, the run was impressive as he spun and slapped the wall with the right rear of his car, causing significant damage in practice. However, after some tape repairs, he was able to qualify his No. 9 car and made it into the final round of qualifying.
Smith is making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut and will roll from the grid in the eighth position.
Series point leader AJ Allmendinger, who has scored two wins on road courses so far this season, was unable to turn a lap in qualifying as his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro had brake issues in qualifying. The team opted to fix the brakes, and as a result, Allmendinger will start from the 38th position in Saturday’s race.
With 41 cars attempting to make the race, three of them will go home. The three drivers and teams that failed to make the show were: JJ Yeley (No. 66 MBM Motorsports), Dexter Bean (No. 92 DGM Racing) and Ryan Vargas (No. 47 Mike Harmon Racing).