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Travis Pastrana speeds to first career pole

NASCAR.com

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Travis Pastrana won his first career pole Friday, turning in a speed of 176.500 mph during qualifing for Saturday's Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Pastrana, driving for Roush Fenway Racing in his first full-time season, built on his practice performance Thursday in which he posted the third-fastest speed of the afternoon. His Coors Light Pole Qualifying Award comes a day before the driver will make his 17th career Nationwide start.

"It sounds like a dream come true," Pastrana said. "Bringing the guys to the line at the green flag at Talladega is awesome, so I'm definitely excited. I mean, this Roush Fenway team has worked so hard. Chad (Norris), my crew chief ... he had a lot of confidence in myself and the car and it's just awesome to be able to show the work these guys are putting together and I'm definitely really happy to be here." 

Starting next to Pastrana on the front row is Austin Dillon, who held the pole until Pastrana's late push. Dillon's top speed was 176.162 mph, and he ousted Danica Patrick from the top spot with his run.

Patrick, who is driving in her first Nationwide Series race since the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, turned in a second-lap speed of 175.877 mph (lap time of 54.447 seconds). That was fast enough to put Patrick at fourth for Saturday's race, to the outside of third-place qualifier Trevor Bayne (176.071 mph).

Justin Allgaier, currently fourth in the points standings, will start fifth.

Rounding out the top 10: points leader Sam Hornish Jr., Elliott Sadler, Brian Scott, Kurt Busch and Joey Coulter.

John Wes Townley initially qualified 10th, but his No. 25 Toyota was ruled to be too low in qualifying and his time was disallowed. As a result, Tim Andrews -- who originally did not qualify -- is now in the 40-car field, and Townley's entry is out. Townley, though, will replace Jeff Green in the No. 10 car and start 14th.

Regan Smith, who trails Hornish by one point in the standings, will start 21st.

Saturday's Aaron's 312 is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.

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