Hornish Jr. tops in Nationwide qualifying at Talladega

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Updated: 5/02 9:59 pm

Talladega, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - Sam Hornish Jr. won the pole position while his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Elliott Sadler and Darrell Wallace Jr. qualified second and third for Saturday's Aaron's 312 Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Hornish, who is making his first Nationwide start this season, completed a lap around this 2.66-mile superspeedway at 186.783 mph in the closing seconds of the third and final round of Friday's qualifying session. He claimed his sixth career Nationwide pole.

Hornish is scheduled to drive the No. 54 Toyota for JGR in at least seven Nationwide races this season. He drove the No. 12 car for Roger Penske's team full-time in the series from 2012-13. Last year, he finished just three points behind Austin Dillon for the championship.

Sadler qualified just a tick behind Hornish at 186.776 mph, while Wallace, who is making his first Nationwide start this season as well, turned a lap at 186.729 mph. Wallace is a regular in the Camping World Truck Series.

Ryan Reed grabbed the fourth starting spot, followed by Dakoda Armstrong and Ryan Blaney.

Ty Dillon, Chris Buescher, James Buescher and Brian Scott completed the top-10.

Talladega marked the first full knockout qualifying session at a restrictor- plate track, which consisted of three segments. Qualifying for the first Nationwide restrictor-plate race this season in February at Daytona International Speedway was stopped with a few minutes remaining in the first round due to rain.

JR Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith and Chase Elliott all failed to advance into the second qualifying round at Talladega. Kahne will start 31st and Smith 32nd. Elliott, the current points leader in Nationwide, will roll off from 37th.

A driver from JRM has won the last three Nationwide races (Texas, Darlington and Richmond). Smith gave the team its first victory this season at Daytona. Smith also won last year's event at Talladega.

Chad Boat and Derrike Cope failed to qualify.

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