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Xfinity Qualifying Canceled; Cole Custer Leading Field to Green at Darlington

Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade, NKP for Ford Performance

The nasty weather has rolled into Darlington, South Carolina, and it has derailed the on-track activity for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

First, it was a long-winded lightning hold, but before NASCAR could clear drivers to return to pit road, the rain came down, and it came down hard.

As a result, NASCAR was forced to cancel practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington, pulling the plug just after 6:00 pm ET, one hour after the session was scheduled to begin.

Per the NASCAR Rule Book, the starting grid will be set by the metric. Defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer will lead the field to green in Saturday’s Crown Royal Purple Bag 200 at Darlington Raceway, with Chandler Smith to his outside.

Sheldon Creed will start from third place, with AJ Allmendinger and Austin Hill completing the top five in the starting grid for Saturday’s 200-mile contest. Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier, teammates at JR Motorsports, will start from sixth and seventh, while Anthony Alfredo, Riley Herbst, and Parker Retzlaff round out the top-10.

Aric Almirola, who won the last time he hit the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will have to start from 18th place in his No. 20 He Gets Us Toyota GR Supra. He’ll be joined outside the top-10 by notables Brandon Jones (14th), Sammy Smith (23rd), Taylor Gray (24th), John Hunter Nemechek (34th), and William Byron (38th).

Without any on-track activity before the green flag, the following drivers will be heading into Saturday’s race without a single lap at Darlington in an Xfinity Series car: Jesse Love, Carson Kvapil, Shane Van Gisbergen, Leland Honeyman, Taylor Gray.

Now, the bigger question for Friday afternoon remains whether or not the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will take to the racetrack and complete its ninth event of 2024, at the track “Too Tough to Tame”. Nick Sanchez and Corey Heim are scheduled to start on the front row for that event.

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