Travis Pastrana won his first pole for a NASCAR national touring race by topping the charts in Friday's Nationwide Series qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.
Pastrana, a former action sports star who is now a full-time competitor in Nationwide, turned a lap 176.500 mph to earn his maiden pole in his 17th start in the series. The Roush Fenway Racing driver will compete at this 2.66-mile superspeedway for the first time. He finished a career-best ninth one week ago at Richmond.
"Starting on the pole is awesome," Pastrana said. "Racing here at Talladega is very big for me, and I really would like to lead a lap. I've never led a lap under green. Hopefully, I can hook up with one of my teammates at some point."
Austin Dillon secured the outside pole with a lap at 176.162 mph. Trevor Bayne, who is Pastrana's teammate at Roush Fenway, qualified third, while Danica Patrick took the fourth spot. Patrick is making her second Nationwide start this season, driving for Turner Scott Motorsports. She competed in the series' season-opener in February at Daytona.
Justin Allgaier took the fifth spot, followed by Sam Hornish Jr., the current points leader, Elliott Sadler, Brian Scott, Kurt Busch and Joey Coulter. Hornish holds only a one-point advantage over Regan Smith, who qualified 20th.
Stanton Barrett and John Wes Townley failed to qualify. Townley had finished 10th in qualifying, but his time was disallowed after NASCAR officials found his car to be too low.
Saturday's Aaron's 312 is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. However, the weather forecast does not look good. The National Weather Service is forecasting a 100 percent chance of rain in the Talladega area throughout the day.