Ryan Blaney waited until the closing minutes of knock-out qualifying Saturday to earn his first career Nationwide Series pole for Sunday’s Get to Know Newton 250 at Iowa Speedway.
Attempting to make the field in his 21st NNS start, Blaney covered the .875-mile oval with a field-best lap of 136.081 mph at 23.148 seconds to earn the Coors Light Pole Award.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. was second-fastest (136.063 mph) and will start on the outside pole, the fifth time he has earned a top-10 start in six races at Iowa Speedway.
Fellow JGR driver Michael McDowell was third-fastest (135.963) , followed by fourth-fastest Regan Smith (135.665) and fastest qualifying rookie, Dylan Kwasniewski (135.525).
Just hours after graduating from high school in suburban Atlanta earlier in the day, Chase Elliott qualified sixth (135.437). The 18-year-old Elliott comes into Sunday’s race leading the NNS standings by one point over Elliott Sadler, and is seeking his third win of the season.
Qualifying seventh through 10th were Brian Scott (135.176), Sadler (135.141), Landon Cassill (135.083) and Brendan Gaughan (134.368).
A total of 40 drivers qualified for Sunday’s race.
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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.
That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.
“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.
“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”
With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.
After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.
“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”
Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.
Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
Click here for full race results
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