Armstrong lands first Coors Light Pole Award
July 04, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
RPM driver tops rain-shortened Nationwide qualifying at Daytona
Armstrong will start first in Friday night's Subway Firecracker 250 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) after scoring the first pole position of his career on the 2.5-mile track. He emerged with a lap of 192.123 mph in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford.
Trevor Bayne will start second in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford after notching a lap of 191.955 mph in a tight aerodynamic draft with Armstrong. Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed completed a sweep of the top four spots by Ford Mustang drivers with Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch fifth in a Toyota.
Friday marked the second time the debut of knockout qualifying at Daytona for the Nationwide Series was marred by rain. The circuit also attempted to conduct group qualifying -- which was introduced before the 2014 campaign -- for the season-opening race in February.
A quick shower on the backstretch caused a nine-car stack-up with just over seven minutes left in the opening 25-minute session of qualifying. After a futile attempt to dry the track, NASCAR officials scrapped the remainder of the session, plus the following two rounds, leaving Armstrong in front.
Busch settled for the fifth-fastest lap after a potential pole-winning lap was scrubbed by slower traffic. Busch had a head of steam built with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Elliott Sadler and Darrell Wallace Jr. behind him in an aerodynamic tow, but the slower car of Tommy Joe Martins veered into Busch's path, forcing him to break his momentum to avoid another pileup.
Martins was among those who failed to qualify for the 40-car field. Blake Koch, Benny Gordon and Matt DiBenedetto -- involved in the rain-related wreck -- also failed to qualify, as did Bobby Gerhart.