Sanchez Surges To Darlington Truck Series Pole


Nick Sanchez en route to the pole Friday at Darlington Raceway. (Jacob Seelman photo)

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Nick Sanchez made sure the best was saved for last during NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying Friday afternoon at Darlington Raceway.

As the final driver to post a time at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval, Sanchez roared to a lap of 29.288 seconds (167.905 mph), nearly a tenth and a half better than any other driver in the field.

The effort was more than enough to secure Sanchez’s first pole of the season and first at the Track Too Tough to Tame. It’s the seventh career Cometic Gasket Pole Award of his career in 32 Truck Series starts.

“[The secret to qualifying] here at Darlington is knowing that you’ve got really good backup trucks in the trailer,” Sanchez joked after climbing from his Rev Racing-prepared No. 2 Chevrolet. “You just have to fully commit at this place, and I have a great team that brings really strong equipment every single week. I did not run [turns] one and two flat out last year, and I wanted to do that this year and we did it.

“We used practice to focus on race trim, so we didn’t really show our hand, but I’ve got a great group of guys and we’re ready to go after it tonight.”

Unfortunately for Sanchez, his crew discovered an issue with the right-rear hub after their qualifying run. Due to the part change, Sanchez will drop to the rear prior to the green flag.

Joining the 22-year-old native of Miami, Fla., on the front row will be the current Truck Series point leader, Corey Heim, who timed in at 29.436 seconds (167.061 mph) in the No. 11 Safelite Toyota for TRICON Garage.

Heim Time

Corey Heim starts on the front row Friday night at Darlington Raceway. (Max Corcoran photo)

It’s Heim’s third top-four starting spot in the last five Truck Series races. He’s won twice already this year.

“I think we’re in good shape,” noted Heim. “We’ve been a lot freer … everywhere, really, than we were here last year, so we’re working to tighten our Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro up some for the race. But I can’t complain about the speed we do have to this point. We’ve got a good starting spot and good pit selection for next week, now, so we’ll see what happens and go for it when the lights come on.”

Taylor Gray and all-time Truck Series wins leader Kyle Busch start third and fourth, respectively, with Tanner Gray giving TRICON Garage three trucks in the top-five on the grid in fifth.

Ross Chastain, Christian Eckes, rookie Layne Riggs, Grant Enfinger, and Daniel Dye filled out the first five rows ahead of Friday night’s 200-mile, 147-lap event.

Notables starting outside the top 10 include two-time and defending series champion Ben Rhodes (12th), Ty Majeski (16th), Chase Purdy (19th), three-time champion Matt Crafton (20th) and Rajah Caruth (26th).

With just 32 trucks on the property, no one failed to qualify for the ninth Truck Series race of the year.

Coverage of the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET, live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.