Jul 12, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT
Brad Keselowski saved the best for last in NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
With less than 30 seconds remaining, Keselowski knocked Kyle Busch off the pole position for today’s Sta-Green 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, check local listings) and then improved on his final qualifying lap for good measure.
The Team Penske driver officially claimed his 17th career Nationwide pole with a lap of 130.304 mph.
“We just missed it by a little bit on our first run during the second [round], and it didn’t seem like anything was going our way in the first [round]“, Keselowski told Fox Sports.
“We had someone spin out when we were running our lap, but the guys kept working on the car and gave me more opportunities, and we were able to capitalize at the end. I’m really proud of their effort.”
Keselowski added that everyone on the No. 22 team wanted to take another crack at the pole late in the second round.
“We all were thinking the same thing and that’s what a great team does,” he said. “They jell and they think the same thing together.”
In five Nationwide starts this season, Keselowski has won once (Las Vegas) and earned Top-3 finishes in all of them, including three second-place results.
Two more Cup regulars, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson, will make up the second row for today’s race, followed by Nationwide regulars Brian Scott and Chase Elliott in Row 3. Paul Menard and Trevor Bayne are in Row 4, and Chris Buescher and Dylan Kwasniewski are in Row 5.
Nationwide points leader Regan Smith, who leads Elliott Sadler by 12 points going into today, is starting 12th on the outside of Row 6 with Brendan Gaughan. Sadler did not make the second round of qualifying, and will start 16th.