BRISTOL, Tenn. – On a race day where much was made of the playoff contenders going into the afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway, non-championship contender Derek Kraus flipped the script.
Kraus sped to the Cometic Gasket Pole Award for the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics with a lap of 15.276 seconds (125.609 mph) around the .533-mile concrete high banks. It was the Wisconsin native’s second Truck Series pole of the season and the fourth of his career.
“I didn’t really know we’d have pole speed from (how we ran in) practice, but overall it was a good run,” Kraus told Kickin’ the Tires after qualifying. “We got a little bit free on (corner) entry, but it didn’t really matter on the stopwatch. It was really fun out there, and I’m looking forward to the race tonight.”
Can Kraus spoil the party and steal a victory from the Truck Series title hopefuls under the lights at The Last Great Colosseum?
“I hope so!” he said, breaking into a big grin. “We’ll have to find out later, but I like our chances and we’ve got a really fast truck.”
Chandler Smith led the playoff drivers by qualifying second (15.279/125.584) in the No. 18 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger and part-timer Corey Heim will line up third through fifth, respectively.
Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Bayley Currey, practice pace-setter Matt DiBenedetto and Carson Hocevar, who was heartbreakingly eliminated from playoff contention last time out at Kansas Speedway, closed the top 10.
Defending series champion Ben Rhodes starts 11th and three-time series titlist Matt Crafton rolls from 16th on the grid.
The UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics is scheduled to take the green flag at 9 p.m. ET, live on FS1 and the Motor Racing Network.
FEATURED PHOTO CREDIT: Jacob Seelman/KTT