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Ryan Blaney earns first career Nationwide Series pole at Iowa

May 17, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

(Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ryan Blaney waited until the closing minutes of knock-out qualifying Saturday to earn his first career Nationwide Series pole for Sunday’s Get to Know Newton 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Attempting to make the field in his 21st NNS start, Blaney covered the .875-mile oval with a field-best lap of 136.081 mph at 23.148 seconds to earn the Coors Light Pole Award.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. was second-fastest (136.063 mph) and will start on the outside pole, the fifth time he has earned a top-10 start in six races at Iowa Speedway.

Fellow JGR driver Michael McDowell was third-fastest (135.963) , followed by fourth-fastest Regan Smith (135.665) and fastest qualifying rookie, Dylan Kwasniewski (135.525).

Just hours after graduating from high school in suburban Atlanta earlier in the day, Chase Elliott qualified sixth (135.437). The 18-year-old Elliott comes into Sunday’s race leading the NNS standings by one point over Elliott Sadler, and is seeking his third win of the season.

Qualifying seventh through 10th were Brian Scott (135.176), Sadler (135.141), Landon Cassill (135.083) and Brendan Gaughan (134.368).

A total of 40 drivers qualified for Sunday’s race.

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