For the third time this season, Daniel Suarez will lead the field to green when the engines are fired for today’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Suarez’ fast lap of 31.779 seconds just barely beat out championship contenders Elliott Sadler and Erik Jones. Both were within a tenth of a second of the Mexican driver.
“I was a little more confident about my long run speed, than my (qualifying) runs, so I’m pretty happy with my car,” Suarez said.
Sadler, the elder statesman of the four title contenders, surprised everyone with a second-place qualifying effort in what will be his best start of the season. The veteran is in search of his first NASCAR championship after nearly 20 years in the sport.
“We’re very humbled to be in this position,” Sadler said. “We’ve got a lot of family and friends here with us, and we want to definitely go make the most of it.”
Jones qualified third with Ryan Blaney in fourth and Austin Dillon in fifth.
The last of the championship contenders, Justin Allgaier, qualified sixth, followed by Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Brandon Jones.
Matt Tifft, racing for the owner’s championship in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing, will start shotgun on the field for Saturday’s race. NASCAR took issue with the rear of the car, and Tifft’s team was unable to make to make it through tech inspection prior to qualifying.
With 45 cars attempting the race, five drivers were not quick enough to make the race. David Starr, Mike Harmon, Morgan Shepherd, Dexter Stacey and Ryan Ellis will have to wait until the series make its way to Daytona next year for their next shot at a NASCAR XFINITY Series race.