Race Weekend Central

Ryan Blaney Nabs Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 Pole

With a speed of 171.369 mph, Ryan Blaney captured the pole for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 Saturday afternoon (Aug. 31). Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford beat out Christopher Bell‘s speed of 170.584 mph to claim his fourth career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole, and first at Darlington Raceway.

Driving a throwback to Buckshot Jones, Cole Custer qualified just behind Bell in the third position. Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top five.

In his first NXS start since Richmond last fall, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start from the 14th position in a throwback tribute to his father and team owners Ed and Norman Negre.


A few drivers encountered trouble during the session. JJ Yeley sustained minor damage after slapping the turn 3 wall, but recovered to earn the 30th starting spot. Morgan Shepherd lost power midway through his qualifying lap and coasted across the line, good enough for the final spot in the field.

Because a practice crash will relegate the No. 18 Toyota to the back of the field to start the event due to a backup car, Denny Hamlin coasted around the egg-shaped oval at half throttle, ultimately qualifying 37th.

About the author

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Never at a loss for words, Zach Gillispie is a young, talented marketing professional from North Carolina who talks and writes on the side about his first love: racing! Since joining Frontstretch in 2018, Zach has served in numerous roles where he currently pens the NASCAR 101 column, a weekly piece delving into the basic nuts and bolts of the sport. Additionally, his unabashedly bold takes meshed with that trademarked dry wit of his have made Zach a fan favorite on the weekly Friday Faceoff panel. In his free time, he can be found in the great outdoors, actively involved in his church, cheering on his beloved Atlanta Braves or ruthlessly pestering his colleagues with completely useless statistics about Delma Cowart.

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