16-year-old Cole Custer became the youngest driver to ever earn the pole in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and will lead the field to the green for Saturday night’s Drivin’ For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park in suburban St. Louis.
Custer was fastest in the final practice session earlier in the day at the Madison, Illinois track, and then came right back to take the top starting spot in qualifying with a speed of 136.426 mph at 32.985 seconds. Both marks are new track records.
Even more surprising, it was Custer’s first-ever qualifying effort in a truck.
“I think we want to win, think we have a car capable of winning,” Custer said. “If we just bide our time and save our tires just a little bit and run a smart race, we’re going to be fine.”
Darrell Wallace Jr., just 20-years-old himself, was second-fastest (136.401 mph) and will start on the outside of the front row, followed by Erik Jones (136.289), Gray Gaulding (135.923), Chase Pistone (135.743) and Jeb Burton (135.689).
Seventh- through 12th-fastest were Tyler Reddick (135.505), Joey Coulter (135.322), German Quiroga Jr. (135.155), Timothy Peters (135.123), Matt Crafton (134.981) and John Hunter Nemechek (134.823).
Only eight drivers in the 32-driver field have ever raced previously at Gateway.
Here’s the starting order for Saturday night’s Drivin’ For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois:
Row 1 Cole Custer, Darrell Wallace Jr.
Row 2 Erik Jones, Gray Gaulding
Row 3 Chase Pistone, Jeb Burton
Row 4 Tyler Reddick, Joey Coulter
Row 5 German Quiroga Jr., Timothy Peters
Row 6 Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek
Row 7 Johnny Sauter, Ryan Blaney
Row 8 John Wes Townley, Ron Hornaday Jr.
Row 9 Ben Kennedy, Taylor Malsam
Row 10 Mason Mingus, Ray Black Jr.
Row 11 Justin Jennings, Tyler Young
Row 12 Bryan Silas, T.J. Bell
Row 13 Ted Minor, Norm Bening
Row 14 Korbin Forrister, Charles Lewandoski
Row 15 Jennifer Jo Cobb, Scott Stenzel
Row 16 Caleb Roark, Adam Edwards
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