NASCAR Xfinity: Alex Tagliani on pole at Road America
By AMANDA VINCENT
Road-course ace Alex Tagliani climbed into a NASCAR Xfinity Series car for the first time this year on Friday, assuming driving duties in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford for Saturday’s Road America 180 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. After a couple of practice sessions, Tagliani advanced to the second and final round of qualifying, during which he turned in a 132.641-second/109.866 mph lap to claim the pole starting spot.
With his most recent pole, Tagliani improved his pole-winning percentage to 0.500, claiming his fourth-career Xfinity Series pole for his eighth-career start in the series. It also was his second-career series pole at Road America.
Tagliani will share the starting grid for Saturday afternoon’s race with Michael McDowell, the weekend’s driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. McDowell posted the fastest lap of record in the first round, turning in a 132.027-second/110.377 mph lap.
The red flag was displayed twice in round one, once when Alon Day (No. 13 MBM Motorsports Dodge) got stuck in the sand trap off turn 12 and also when Josh Bilicki (No. 77 Obaika Racing Chevrolet)spun, slid through a sand trap and hit a tire barrier.
Qualifying third and fourth were Justin Marks (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and Owen Kelly (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota).
Daniel Suarez was the highest-qualifying Xfinity Series regular and championship-eligible driver, taking the fifth spot on the starting grid.
Here’s the complete starting grid for Saturday’s Road America 180:
Row 1 — Alex Tagliani (No. 22 Ford), Michael McDowell (No. 2 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Justin Marks (No. 42 Chevrolet), Owen Kelly (No. 18 Toyota)
Row 3 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Ty Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Ryan Reee (No. 16 Ford), Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Blake Koch (No. 11 Chevrolet), Erik Jones (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 6 — Justin Allgaier (No. 7 Chevrolet), Brennan Poole (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Darrell Wwallace Jr. (No. 6 Ford), Elliott Sadler (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Ross Chastain (No. 4 Chevrolet), Jeremy Clements (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — J.J. Yeley (No. 44 Toyota), J.D. Davison (No. 90 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Kenny Habul (No. 88 Chevrolet), Scott Heckert (No. 15 Ford)
Row 11 — Alex Kennedy (No. 25 Chevrolet), Brandon Jones (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Josh Bilicki (No. 77 Chevrolet), Ray Black Jr. (No. 07 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Ryan Preece (No. 01 Chevrolet), Stanton Barrett (No. 99 Ford)
Row 14 — Dakoda Armstrong (No. 28 Toyota), Tomy Drissi (No. 14 Toyota)
Row 15 — Garrett Smithley (No. 0 Chevrolet), Jeff Green (No. 10 Toyota)
Row 16 — Timmy Hill (No. 70 Chevrolet), David Starr (No. 93 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Nic Hammann (No. 74 Dodge), Morgan Shepherd (No. 89 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — B.J. McLeod (No. 78 Ford), Joey Gase (No. 52 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — John Jackson (No. 40 Dodge), Paige Decker (No. 97 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Ryan Sieg (No. 39 Chevrolet), Alon Day (No. 13 Dodge)