By Jacob Seelman, Featured Contributor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Nick Sanchez gave notice to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series field Friday during qualifying at Daytona Int’l Speedway: he’s loaded for bear and plans to take no prisoners.
Sanchez sped to his first Cometic Gasket Pole Award ahead of his Truck Series debut, posting a lap of 49.478 seconds (181.899 mph) with the No. 2 Gainbridge Chevrolet Silverado.
He was more than three tenths of a second clear of his nearest competitor, but noted that he wasn’t sure how good his pole-winning lap was from inside the cockpit.
“It’s always tough to tell when you’re running by yourself, but I could tell it was running pretty well based on the RPM sounds,” Sanchez told Kickin’ the Tires following qualifying.
“What a huge moment, not just for me, but for Max [Siegel, team owner] and everyone at Rev Racing. It’s special to be a part of it in their first time at this level, and now we just want to finish the job tonight.”
Ty Majeski, part of last year’s Championship 4 in the Truck Series, will line up alongside Sanchez on the front row (49.783/180.785). Third through fifth were Jack Wood, Christian Eckes and Corey LaJoie.
Matt Crafton, Jason A. White, Matt DiBenedetto, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy closed out the first five rows and all made it through both knockout rounds.
Derek Kraus was the first driver who failed to advance to the final round of qualifying, missing the cut on a tiebreaker in the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado after running an identical 50.462-second (178.352 mph) lap to Hocevar.
Hocevar grabbed the 10th and final spot in round two by virtue of last year’s owner point standings.
Other notables mired deeper in the Truck Series starting field include Hailie Deegan (12th), Corey Heim (13th), past Cup Series champion Chase Elliott (14th), defending Truck Series titlist Zane Smith (15th), Stewart Friesen (23rd) and Ben Rhodes (26th).
With 42 drivers on the property for 36 starting spots, Kaden Honeycutt, Norm Benning, Spencer Boyd, Lawless Alan, Todd Peck and Bryan Dauzat failed to qualify.
The NextEra Energy Resources 250 is slated for a 7:30 p.m. ET green flag, with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.