For the second year in a row, David Ragan will lead the field to the green flag in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Showdown race with a coveted transfer spot into the Sprint All Star race for the winner and runner-up on the line.
Ragan was the last of 27 drivers to take to the track and knocked A.J. Allmendinger off the pole with a lap of 28.172 seconds (191.680 mph) in the no. 6 UPS Ford Fusion, nailing his second straight pole for the 40-lap event.
Allmendinger held second, followed by Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Burton.
The winner and second-place finisher of the race run just prior to the all star event will transfer into the Sprint All Star race, taking the 19th and 20th positions in the all-star field.
This will be Ragan’s fifth start in the Showdown and his second straight start from the pole. His best finish was a third-place showing in 2008, and he’ll be looking to make his first start in the all star race.
“That’s the number one thing on our to-do list right now besides the Daytona 500, which we’ve already run,” said Ragan. “Hopefully, we’re a part of the real big event tomorrow at Charlotte.
“I didn’t expect the track to pick up that kind of speed from the first practice to this afternoon with the sunshine still really out there and the place is pretty warm, so I saw (A.J.) Allmendinger and a few of those other guys pick up three or four tenths and I knew that we should be able to, so we didn’t make any changes on our UPS Ford from the practice lap that we ran and it was a good lap. It’ll be a good start for us.”
The 21st and final spot in the Sprint Al Star race will go to the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote, with the driver not already in the race who gets the most votes from the fans transferring into the all star field.
As of Friday night, the leading vote-getters were Allmendinger, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano and Brian Vickers. Pete McCole/AR1.com
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