By Jacob Seelman, Special Contributor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If Saturday’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 qualifying session was any indication, Austin Hill has become the newest superspeedway ace in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Hill, the 28-year-old from Winston, Ga., secured the pole for the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway with a blistering lap of 49.298 seconds (182.563 mph) around the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
It’s his second-straight superspeedway pole, going back to last fall at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Hill also won last year’s Daytona opener and added another win at Atlanta Motor Speedway as well.
Parker Kligerman made it an all-Chevrolet front row with the No. 48 Big Machine Racing entry (49.331/182.441), qualifying second as he returns to the series full time for the first time since 2013.
Cole Custer, Sheldon Creed and Justin Allgaier were third through fifth, respectively, followed by Daniel Hemric, John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith, Riley Herbst and Anthony Alfredo among the cars that advanced through both rounds of knockout qualifying.
Brandon Jones was the first driver who failed to advance to the final round, ending up .001 seconds short in his No. 9 Menards Chevrolet (49.644/181.291).
Other notables starting deeper in the field include Myatt Snider (13th), Sam Mayer (14th), Sammy Smith (15th), Josh Berry (18th), Justin Haley (19th) and Kaz Grala (33rd).
With 44 teams on the property for 38 starting spots, Dexter Stacey , Josh Bilicki, Garrett Smithley, Timmy Hill, Alex Labbe and Ryan Vargas failed to qualify.
Saturday’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. ET start, with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.