In the Nationwide Series, qualifying at a road course isn’t like qualifying on an oval. Instead of the standard one-car-at-a-time oval formal, the series sends cars out onto the track in groups. During the Saturday morning qualifying session for Saturday afternoon’s Sargento 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., drivers were split into six groups, with the slowest cars from Friday practice going out in the first group and the fastest in the sixth and final group.
So it was pervectly reasonable that drivers in the final group would claim all five of the top-five starting spots. Camping World Truck Series regular Nelson Piquet Jr., qualifying for only his third-career Nationwide race, claimed the pole with a fast lap of 133.660 seconds.
“I knew we were quick yesterday (in practice),” Piquet said.
Michael McDowell qualified second to join Piquet on the front row of the starting grid.
“I did get it all, maybe a little bit too much,” McDowell said. “Just one spot shy of the pole, but it’s a long race.”
Qualifying third through fifth were road course specialists Ron Fellows, Jaques Villeneuve and Max Papis.
Brian Scott went out in the fifth group and claimed what was, at the time, the provisional pole. By the end of the qualifying session Scott was shuffled back to sixth, the highest spot of any Nationwide Series regular.
Qualifying seventh through 10th were Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr., Miguel Paludo and Danica Patrick. Series points leader Elliott Sadler qualified 13th.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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