For the second race in a row, Chandler Smith, a Rookie of The Year contender in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will lead the field to green, scoring the pole for Saturday’s Ambetter Health 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Smith, piloting the No. 16 QuickTie Products Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing, posted the quickest lap in Friday’s single-car qualifying session from the 1.058-mile oval, clocking in at 30.159 seconds (126.291mph).
The triumph in qualifying marks the 13th time that Kaulig Racing has started a NASCAR Xfinity Series event from the lead, but the first time the organization has done so on a track less than 1.5 miles in length.
John Hunter Nemechek, the final car to post a lap in qualifying, will start alongside Smith on the front row, after posting a lap only four-hundredths of a second off the fastest time in qualifying.
Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier, and Brandon Jones, a trio of teammates from JR Motorsports, will start Saturday’s 200-lap contest from third, fourth, and fifth place, in what was an incredible effort by the race-winning organization.
Cole Custer will start the event from sixth, while Sammy Smith, the fastest driver in Friday’s 20-minute practice session prior to qualifying, earned a starting spot of seventh. Austin Hill, Austin Dillon, and Sam Mayer will start eighth through 10th.
Kaz Grala and Ryan Sieg, who both posted laps inside the top-20 in practice, were unable to make a time, after a bizarre and somewhat vicious crash at the tail-end of the practice, where Sieg lost brakes and crashed directly into the Sam Hunt Racing No. 26.
Greg Van Alst, making his second start of the year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Alpha Prime Racing, was the slowest of the 36 drivers to take time in the qualifying session, clocking in at 33.310 seconds, 3.2 seconds off of the pole lap.