Ty Dillon earns pole position for today’s Nationwide race at Kansas

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Ty Dillon has won his third pole of the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season – his second in the last three races – for today’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

Early in the final round of NNS qualifying, Dillon put up a lap of 183.943 mph in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet that no one else was able to eclipse.

“I really wish we could’ve got that second lap in – I got a little tight behind Chris [Buescher] getting a tow – and maybe we could’ve flirted with my brother’s [Sprint Cup rookie Austin Dillon] track record,” Ty told Fox Sports.

“That kinda made me mad. But all in all, it was an awesome lap. I’m really proud of my guys. Let’s keep rolling.”

Joining him on the front row will be Ryan Blaney, back in the NNS this weekend for Team Penske. Blaney turned in a lap of 183.686 mph in the Penske No. 22, which is seeking to retain its owner’s championship in the series.

Chris Buescher and Sprint Cup regular Kevin Harvick will make up the second row. Brian Scott and last week’s NNS winner, Kyle Busch, are in Row 3, followed by Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard in Row 4 then Kyle Larson and Brendan Gaughan in Row 5.

NNS championship leader Chase Elliott will roll off 12th today as he looks to further extend his 26-point lead over teammate Regan Smith.

Unfortunately for Smith, his tough task of catching Elliott over the final five races got a little tougher today.

During the second round of qualifying, Smith lost control going through Turns 1 and 2 and hit the wall with the rear of his No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

The damage was enough to force JRM to roll out a backup car for Smith, who will start 24th.

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES AT KANSAS – Kansas Lottery 300
Qualifying Results

1. 3-Ty Dillon
2. 22-Ryan Blaney
3. 60-Chris Buescher
4. 5-Kevin Harvick
5. 2-Brian Scott
6. 54-Kyle Busch
7. 11-Elliott Sadler
8. 33-Paul Menard
9. 42-Kyle Larson
10. 62-Brendan Gaughan
11. 6-Trevor Bayne
12. 9-Chase Elliott
13. 20-Matt Kenseth
14. 16-Ryan Reed
15. 31-Dylan Kwasniewski
16. 99-James Buescher
17. 43-Dakoda Armstrong
18. 39-Ryan Sieg
19. 01-Landon Cassill
20. 25-John Wes Townley
21. 19-Mike Bliss
22. 28-J.J. Yeley
23. 44-David Starr
24. 7-Regan Smith
25. 51-Jeremy Clements
26. 98-Corey Lajoie
27. 40-Matt Dibenedetto
28. 14-Eric McClure
29. 10-Blake Koch
30. 93-Kevin Swindell
31. 4-Jeffrey Earnhardt
32. 70-Derrike Cope
33. 74-Mike Harmon
34. 29-Milka Duno
35. 72-Carl Long
36. 55-Jamie Dick
37. 52-Joey Gase
38. 23-Timmy Hill
39. 87-Jennifer Jo Cobb
40. 90-Martin Roy

DNF: 17-Tanner Berryhill, 46-Ryan Ellis, 89-Morgan Shepherd

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994