Tyler Reddick, the defending series champion and defending race winner, won the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
With a left rear tire leaking air, Reddick posted a top speed of 189.060 mph around the track.
It is the fifth straight pole in the February Daytona race for Richard Childress Racing. The No. 2 team will change the leaking tire, meaning Reddick will start from the rear.
“I wasn’t really worried about my safety I guess I would say during that lap with that tire, I was worried something would happen and we’d tear our great car up,” Reddick told Fox Sports 1. “When (crew chief) Randall (Burnett) told me yesterday that we were going to be in contention for the pole I didn’t know what to think because I thought our car handled really well in the draft. But it’s obviously got a lot of speed in it, too. This thing is just a rocket ship.”
It is Reddick’s third career Xfinity pole.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of Dale Earnhardt, qualified second. He is making his debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in the No 18. Toyota.
“We missed it just by a little bit there,” Earnhardt told FS1. “This is probably one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had in my life in my whole racing career. … Hopefully we can keep it up front. If we get some help we may get pushed out front and stay there the whole day.
Cole Custer was 38th fastest. He posted the slowest speed in round one, leading Stewart-Haas Racing to change the engine in his No. 00 Ford.