A final-round lap of 175.770 mph has given Ryan Blaney the pole for tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Blaney’s pole run in the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford was the culmination of a strange qualifying session on the 1.5-mile oval this afternoon.
With two minutes remaining in the 10-minute second round, only five drivers had posted a lap. That led to a mass exodus off of pit road, but with 18 seconds to go, the red flag came out for a spin involving John Wes Townley.
NASCAR needed some time to sort out who would be the Top 12 to advance to the final round. Ultimately, the matter was settled and Blaney went on to earn his second Truck Series pole of the year.
He’ll be joined on the front row by Darrell Wallace Jr., who posted a lap of 175.536 mph in his No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
Tayler Malsam (175.041 mph) and German Quiroga (174.723) will make up the second row, followed by current points leader Matt Crafton and Spencer Gallagher in Row 3.
Crafton takes a seven-point championship lead into tonight’s Rhino Linings 350K (146 laps, 219 miles) over ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, who qualified 16th on the outside of Row 8. Defending race winner Timothy Peters will start 17th.
Last week’s winner at New Hampshire, 16-year-old racer Cole Custer, is not competing in Vegas. He will return to the circuit for two more races at Martinsville next month and at Phoenix in November.
Green flag for the race is scheduled to drop shortly after 10 p.m. ET.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES AT LAS VEGAS – STARTING LINEUP
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).
It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).
Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.
The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.
“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”