Written by: Adrian Beecher
Bristol, TN – Cole Custer’s first career pole came on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford ahead of the 2018 Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. Custer waited until the final minute of the 3rd qualifying session to run his best lap of the day.
In the first qualifying session, John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 42 was the fastest in the track with a lap time of 15.176, just 0.054-seconds faster than Daniel Hemric in the No. 21 back in 2nd. Just missing the cut into the 2nd round of 24 was Tyler Riddick in the No. 9. He ran a lap time just 0.011-seconds slower than Brandon Jones in the No. 19 who just made the cut inside the bubble.
Round two of qualifying got just two minutes into the ten-minute session before Ryan Seig in the No. 39 RSS Racing Chevrolet took a spin on the backstretch after getting loose high coming out of turn two. The damage would be severe enough to force the team to go to a backup car, which will put them to the back of the starting grid.
Keeping in tune with the Cup drivers qualifying session from Friday, most of the drivers would wait until there were just three minutes left on the qualifying clock to take their first lap in the 2nd session. As round two of qualifying wrapped up, John Hunter Nemechek was still atop the leaderboard as the fastest, with a lap time of 15.179-seconds. Christopher Bell in the No. 20 clocked in 2nd with a 15.204-second lap time, just 0.004-seconds faster than Hemric, who was 2nd fastest in round 1. Missing the cut into the top 12 was Xfinity Series points leader Elliott Saddler in the No. 1, he will start 13th.
An eager Christopher Bell didn’t wait around in the final qualifying session, getting out on the track first and laying a lap time of 15.144-seconds. That would hold up as the fastest until the final minute when Cole Custer in the No. 00 stole the show with a 15.090. Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 would also jump in front of Bell in the final minute to take the 2nd position in the starting grid. Bell will start Saturday’s race in the 3rd position with, Hemric in 4th and John Hunter Nemechek in the 5th position.