The NASCAR Xfinity Series’ annual trip to Watkins Glen International has long served as an outlet for the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series to gain road course experience, especially as of late, with an increasing number of non-oval tracks filling up the schedule.
Saturday’s SUNOCO GO Rewards 200 will be no different, with each of the race’s top-five starters scheduled to compete in both Saturday’s Xfinity Series event and Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen.
William Byron, driving the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports, put down a new track record in the second round of group qualifying on Saturday, posting a time of 70.548 seconds (125.021mph).
It’s Hendrick Motorsports’ second pole in three starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season, the first of which came with Kyle Larson at Road America. The pole position also serves as the third of Byton’s career in the second-tier series.
Ty Gibbs – who posted a lap nearly three-tenths of a second slower than Byron’s pole lap – will start alongside the Hendrick Motorsports driver for the 82-lap contest, with Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, and Cole Custer rounding out the top five.
Of the drivers not scheduled to run double-duty, Riley Herbst, sixth, posted the quickest lap time, with Sam Mayer, Austin Hill, Daniel Hemric, and Justin Allgaier completing the top-10.
Sheldon Creed, who sits 52 points below the Playoff cutline entering Watkins Glen, pulled off an 11th-place qualifying effort, with Brandon Jones, Connor Mosack, Kaz Grala, and Ross Chastain rounding out the top-15.
Other notables include Noah Gragson (16th), Josh Berry (17th), Sammy Smith (19th), Landon Cassill (20th), Brad Perez (27th – NXS debut), and Jeb Burton (28th).
Spencer Pumpelly (JD Motorsports), Austin Wayne Self (Jordan Anderson Racing), and Stanton Barrett (Mike Harmon Racing) were the three drivers that failed to qualify for Saturday’s Sunoco Go Rewards 200 at Watkins Glen International.