Ross Chastain smiled and conceded, he had no idea how having the No. 1 pit box selection would be for Sunday’s Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.
“I’d never had it before,’’ he said smiling.
Chastain certainly earned it with honors on Saturday, claiming the Busch Light Pole in the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet with a blazing fast 160.687 mph lap in qualifying – a full 1 mph better than the field – earning the right to lead the field to green for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career; the first time a Trackhouse Racing car has ever started on pole.
“Definitely qualifying as a whole has not been a strong suit in my life, so a lot of work I’ve put into it and not a lot of payoff, not a lot of reward,’’ the 30-year old Floridian Chastain said. “Even the times I have put it together in round one, I’ve never been able to put round two together in a way that I’m proud of, or I feel I did right by.’’
“And no matter how good the rest of the year goes, I will always have a memory of today,’’ Chastain added with a smile.
Tyler Reddick will start alongside Chastain in the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota. Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley will start third – a career best effort for the 24-year old – alongside reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, Penske Racing’s Joey Logano.
Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. – ranked second and first in the championship standings, respectively – will start on row three. Their teammates Kyle Larson (Hendrick) and Denny Hamlin (JGR) will roll off seventh and eighth and 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Chastain’s teammate Daniel Suarez were ninth and 10th in final qualifying.
Defending race winner Chase Elliott just missed advancing to the final round and will start his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 14th.
“We’re in Nashville, this is where Trackhouse was formed,’’ Chastain said. “It was started here with [team owner] Justin [Marks] living here. We are Nashville’s team. … to have it happen here is amazing.’’
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