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NASCAR

Menard claims pole for Texas Nationwide race

Paul Menard will start on the pole for Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race after posting the fastest lap in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway.

Menard, a Sprint Cup Series regular, turned a lap at 181.714 mph for his fifth career pole in Nationwide. His previous best start at Texas was third, which came in the spring 2009 race.

Denny Hamlin earned the outside pole with a lap at 180.687 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the defending series champion, qualified third, followed by rookie Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler, the current points leader.

Kurt Busch, Cole Whitt, also a rookie, Kasey Kahne, Steve Arpin and Mike Bliss completed the top-10.

Danica Patrick will start 17th, three spots ahead of her team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Sadler enters the sixth race of the season with an 18-point lead over Stenhouse.

Morgan Shepherd and John Jackson failed to qualify for the 300-mile race, which is scheduled to start just after 8:30 p.m. (ET).