Stenhouse, Jr. Takes Charlotte Nationwide Series Pole
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s week just keeps getting better, as the 23-year old driver picked up his third career NASCAR Nationwide Series pole on Saturday for the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Just a week after scoring his first Nationwide Series win and two days after securing his first Sprint Cup Series start, Stenhouse, Jr. paced the 1.5-mile quad oval at 186.994 mph to beat out Kevin Harvick for the top spot. Harvick held onto the outside pole position, followed by Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.
"It's been an amazing weekend, for sure," said Stenhouse. "I didn't think we'd qualify better than I did in Cup, but I talked to Carl (Edwards) before qualifying, and he said 'If you can do that again, I think you can get the pole.'"
Stenhouse, Jr. won his first Nationwide race last weekend at Iowa Speedway and will make his Sprint Cup debut in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Ford Fusion, subbing for Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who is still sidelined with an undisclosed illness which has kept him out of the driver’s seat for the last four weeks.
"I almost wish I wouldn't have won that race and then get in his car because it's like, 'Hey, Trevor. Ricky is gonna run your car. He won last weekend.' But that’s not the way it is," said Stenhouse. "This is Trevor's seat no matter if I win this Coca-Cola 600 or not. It's still gonna be Trevor's seat, which I'm thankful for because I don't want to do anything to mess up his career, but winning that race definitely makes coming into this week a lot easier."
Reed Sorenson, Sam Hornish, Jr., Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler made up the rest of the top ten.
Former Formula One Champion Kimi Raikkonen, who made his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series race held here last Saturday, qualified 22nd in his first Nationwide Series start, driving a Toyota owned by Joe Nemechek.
Chase Miller and Charles Lewandoski were the only two driver to miss the field for Saturday’s race. Pete McCole/AR1.com
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