NNS: Stenhouse Takes Too Tough Pole

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Points leader and reigning series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. claimed the pole for tonight’s VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Stenhouse ran 173.546 miles per hour in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang to take his fifth career pole and first of 2012. He was followed by the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin, 172.784 mph, and Austin Dillon, 172.650 mph in the first of the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets. Fourth was Kurt Busch in his brother Kyle’s Toyota, which ran 172.378 mph.

Then came Joey Logano at 172.354 mph in a second JGR entry and Elliott Sadler’s RCR Chevy. Completing the top 10 were Brian Scott, Sam Hornish Jr., Kasey Kahne and Justin Allgaier.

Last week at Talladega, Stenhouse took over the points lead for the first time this season. He heads into tonight’s race with a lead of 5 points over Sadler and 35 over Sadler’s teammate, Austin Dillon.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.