Ryan Blaney Becomes the Youngest NCWTS Pole Award Winner in Kentucky Speedway History
Nineteen-year-old Ryan Blaney became the youngest NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kentucky Speedway pole award winner this afternoon by leading UNOH 225 qualifying with a 175.160 mph lap.
The son of NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Dave Blaney recorded his first NCWTS pole in his Brad Keselowski Racing Team-prepared Cooper Standard Ford. His quickest time of 30.829 seconds was just 0.15 seconds quicker than fellow rookie Darrell Wallace Jr. of Mobile, Ala., who turned in a 175.075 mph speed in his Kyle Busch Motorsports machine.
"It's very cool. Like I said before, getting the fastest lap, it makes you feel good that you went as fast as you could go and you were the fastest one in qualifying. "I think it is really cool to have my dad and Brad (Keselowski) come up to me and say 'good job.' Definitely a cool thing, but you don't get a trophy for the pole," Blaney said.
He shares his dad's Hartford, Ohio roots but now lives in High Point, N.C., will make his 17th series start tonight. He's currently fifth in championship standings with five top-10 finishes, including a pair of season-best third place finishes at Kansas and Dover.
This is Blaney's fourth consecutive top-10 start in the truck series, and first Keystone 21 Means 21 Pole Award in two tries at Kentucky. Austin Dillon was the previous youngest series pole award winner at the track age 20 years,
Defending race winner James Buescher of Katy, Texas will start in row seven in the 18-row, 36-truck field.
Current points leader, Matt Crafton of Mooresville, N.C., starts seventh quickest in row four, four spots ahead of current series points runner up Jeb Burton, of Halifax, Va. John Wes Townsley and veteran Brendan Gaughan will start beside each other in row 2, with Joey Coulter and Kyle Busch starting in Row 3.
Cale Gale, who had been the quickest in the day's final practice session, qualified 18th on the outside of Row 9.
Sprint Cup regulars Busch, Brad Keselowski and Scott Riggs are the only three drivers this weekend who are planning on running all three NASCAR events at Kentucky. Busch and Keselowski won the first two Sprint Cup events at Kentucky Speedway. Keselowski will start outside of Burton in row 6; Riggs is 26th quick in row 13.
Blaney believes the outcome of tonight's 150-lap UNOH 225 could come down to tire wear, and who manages their tires the best.
"It's definitely going to be a tire management race," he said. "These tires tend to wear out pretty badly, especially how rough and abrasive this race track is. It's definitely going to be one of those 'who can be fast?' as the tires wear out races. Hopefully, we can have a good solid race tonight and bring it home in one piece and start gaining points on the leader."