By Jacob Seelman, Kickin’ the Tires
TALLADEGA, Ala. – John Hunter Nemechek beat his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, Chandler Smith, to the Cometic Gasket Pole Friday ahead of the Chevy Silverado 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Nemechek, arguably the favorite for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, turned a lap of 53.567 seconds (178.767 mph) around the 2.66-mile, high-banked oval in his No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
The 25-year-old secured his seventh pole of the season and the ninth of his Truck Series career as a result. He was more than three tenths of a second clear of his nearest pursuer and the only driver in the 178-mph bracket during Friday’s qualifying session.
Smith will flank Nemechek on the front row after a lap of 53.879 seconds (177.732 mph) in the No. 18 iBuyPower Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, which is sporting a new-look, primarily white paint scheme this weekend at the longest oval on the NASCAR calendar.
Carson Hocevar (54.081/177.068) was the fastest Chevrolet driver in third ahead of the brand’s title race, with Zane Smith (54.083/177.061) qualifying fourth as the top Ford driver in the starting lineup.
Three-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton rolls off fifth for Saturday’s race, followed by Ty Majeski, Colby Howard, Derek Kraus, journeyman driver-owner Jordan Anderson and past NASCAR modified champion Ryan Preece.
Playoff drivers buried in the field at Talladega include Christian Eckes (13th), Ben Rhodes (15th), Grant Enfinger (16th) and Stewart Friesen (18th), who ended up as the lowest of the eight remaining championship contenders and will start from row nine Saturday.
With 40 drivers entered for 36 starting spots, Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker failed to qualify for the event.
The Chevy Silverado 250 is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. ET start Saturday, with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR radio, channel 90.