In his final NASCAR Xfinity Series event with Joe Gibbs Racing, Sammy Smith will be looking to spoil the part of the four championship-eligible drivers, looking for his second victory in the series at the one-mile Phoenix Raceway.
Smith, driving the No. 18 Toyota GR Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing, posted the fastest time of Saturday’s single-car qualifying session at 27.153 seconds (132.582mph), picking up his second career pole in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Austin Hill, who just like polesitter Sammy Smith was eliminated following last weekend’s event at Martinsville Speedway, will start alongside him on the front row, after his lap was just 0.002 seconds slower than the eventual polesitter.
John Hunter Nemechek will start closer to the front than any of the other Championship 4 contenders, earning a third-place starting spot, where he will have his teammate Myatt Snider starting on his outside in fourth place.
Sheldon Creed will start in fifth, making his last start for Richard Childress Racing. Chandler Smith, in a similar situation with his team Kaulig Racing, will start from sixth place.
Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier, a pair of the championship-eligible drivers for Saturday’s 200-lap contest at Phoenix Raceway, will start from seventh and eighth place and will have some track position to make up on John Hunter Nemechek.
Riley Herbst will start in ninth, while Connor Mosack earned his best Xfinity Series start on an oval, and will roll from 10th in his No. 24 Toyota GR Supra from Sam Hunt Racing.
Sam Mayer is the only driver of the Championship 4 that didn’t manage to quality inside the top-10, and will start Saturday’s event from 16th place, four rows behind any of his other rivals in the title fight.
Brad Perez, who was looking to make his first oval start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, failed to make the race after crashing his No. 74 CHK Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the first corner, causing significant damage.
Leland Honeyman, driving the No. 44 for Alpha Prime Racing, also missed the field after serving as a last-minute fill-in, seeing as Daniel Dye, the entry’s original pilot, wasn’t medically cleared to race.