By Dominic Aragon and Jonathan Fjeld
KANSAS CITY, Kan — Daniel Hemric will lead the field to the green flag Sunday (October 20) in the Hollywood Casino 400.
Hemric posted the fastest lap time Saturday at Kansas Speedway with a 30.329-second lap time (178.047 MPH).
The pole was Hemric’s first of 2019 and first of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
“I should know better and not to count out my guys,” Hemric said. “I’ve been on the good qualifying side of things, set some top-five runs, my teammates have hit out of the park.”
“We wanted to at least try and get one of the poles before the season ended. I thought we’d end up between fifth and eighth. I felt like with every car that went by, our odds increased. It is just a pole award, but it’s a bigger moment for this race team because we accomplished something.”
Hemric is the 230th different driver to win a pole position in NASCAR’s premier series.
Hemric’s previous high qualifying effort was third place in June 2019 at Chicagoland Speedway.
“It don’t really change the outlook (for Sunday’s race),” Hemric said. “Really, when we qualified decent, and fairly decent, we’ve always been in traffic. This time, we have a good opportunity in clean traffic.”
Other first time pole winners this season include William Byron.
David Ragan will start on the outside pole for the Hollywood Casino 400.
The outside-pole is Ragan’s highest starting position since Texas in November 2011 and Sunday’s race will be his final Kansas start as a full-time MENCS driver.
“It’s pretty much business as usual and finish strong with my team,” Ragan noted, “I will race again and I think that’s what makes it a little less emotional because I hope to run a few races over the next few years.”
“I’m not gonna walk away and then never race again, so I’ll still be around and a part of the sport, just home a little more.”
Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five in qualifying.
Chase Elliott, the 2018 Hollywood Casino 400 winner, was 14th quickest.
Defending series champion Joey Logano was 29th fastest.
Other playoff drivers qualified in the following positions: Martin Truex Jr. (11th), Alex Bowman (16th), Kyle Busch (18th), Clint Bowyer (21st), Denny Hamlin (23rd), William Byron (25th) and Kevin Harvick (40th).
The Hollywood Casino 400 from Kansas Speedway will be televised Sunday, October 20, at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.