McDowell earns pole for first Nationwide race at Mid-Ohio

Michael McDowell will start on the pole for Saturday's inaugural Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after topping A.J. Allmendinger in qualifying.

McDowell, who is driving the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in this race, made a lap around this 2.258-mile road course in 1 minute, 24.450 seconds (96.256 mph). He claimed his second career pole in his 88th Nationwide start. His first pole came in June 2011 at Road America.

Allmendinger, who won at Road America two months ago, made his qualifying lap in 1:24.461 (96.243 mph) to secure the outside pole. He is driving the No. 22 Ford for Penske Racing. Brad Keselowski drove that car to victory in last Saturday's road course race at Watkins Glen as well as the Aug. 3 event at Iowa.

Owen Kelly qualified third in the No. 54 JGR Toyota. Rookies Kyle Larson and Nelson Piquet Jr. will start fourth and fifth, respectively.

Austin Dillon, the current points leader, Trevor Bayne and Marcos Ambrose, a Sprint Cup Series regular, will start this 90-lap race from the rear of the field since they did not participate in qualifying. All three drivers were at Michigan International Speedway in the morning to practice for Sunday's 400- mile Sprint Cup race there.