After being eliminated from the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs last week at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, Josh Berry has won the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will lead the field to green in the 2023 Alsco Uniforms 302. He clinched the spot with a qualifying time of 29.671 seconds and a speed of 181.996 mph.
Starting beside him on the front row will be Cole Custer with a speed of 181.702 mph. Custer was also the fastest in practice.
Putting all three manufacturers on the starting podium is Sammy Smith with a speed of 181.446 mph.
Completing the rest of the top 10 were Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, Riley Herbst, Layne Riggs, who will make his second-ever Xfinity Series start, and Austin Hill, who won at Las Vegas in the spring.
The drivers had difficulty overcoming the challenges presented by the bumpy track surface of Las Vegas Motor Speedway and many drivers lost a large amount of speed coming out of turn 1. Stefan Parsons was seen making the turn with a significant amount of tire smoke bellowing from his car and still managed a 29th-place starting position.
Several notable playoff drivers did have trouble and qualified outside of the top 10. Sam Mayer, last week’s winner at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, qualified in 14th. Behind him was Sheldon Creed in the 15th position.
Starting dead last will be John Hunter Nemechek, who did not get the chance to qualify due to a leaking rear axle in practice.
“Definitely smells like gear oil for sure, not sure if we have a seal that got pinched or nicked or something, and started leaking some gear oil,” Nemechek said on the part failure. “I smelled it and then we had a puff of smoke out of turn two before I came in there.”
Nemechek also talked about the speed his car had before the incident and will be expected to have tomorrow: “I feel like we’re one of the best cars so [we] just have to go race tomorrow. It sucks not to qualify, it sucks not getting to pick pits next week at Homestead, but in the end, things like this happen and what makes a true championship team is how you overcome it.”
The Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be broadcast Saturday (Oct. 14) at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network.
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