Ty Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. on front row for Saturday night’s NNS race at Kentucky

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Ty Dillon is going to do everything he can to still potentially win the Nationwide Series championship this season.

He took a big step towards that by winning the pole for tonight’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

It’s Dillon’s second NNS pole of the season.

Dillon, who is in his first full season in the NNS series, covered the 1.5-mile banked oval at a field-best speed of 175.690 mph.

Dillon comes into tonight’s race in third place in the NNS standings, 40 points behind series leader Chase Elliott, and 22 points behind second-ranked Regan Smith.

Sam Hornish Jr., whose name is being prominently mentioned of late as a possible replacement for Marcos Ambrose at Richard Petty Motorsports for next season, was second-fastest at 175.245 mph.

Series veteran Brendan Gaughan was third-fastest at 175.097 mph, followed by Cale Conley (175.046), Brian Scott (174.853) and Chris Buescher (174.791).

Elliott Sadler, another name being bandied around for Ambrose’s Sprint Cup seat at RPM, was seventh-fastest at 174.284 mph, followed by Michael McDowell (174.070), Elliott (173.930) and Smith (173.600).

Trevor Bayne qualified and will start 11th (173.422), alongside Justin Boston (173.410).

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.