By Adam Carabine
Mother Nature struck again, shortening the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ qualifying session on Friday afternoon. Initially, drivers were split into two groups – each would get 15 minutes to lay down their best laps. The five fastest drivers from each group were then going to have their own 10-minute session to compete for the pole.
With practice having taken place under moderate showers earlier in the day, the teams were no strangers to the rain. However, when Group A began their qualifying session, the track had mostly dried, and everyone was running slick tires, which are faster overall, but have no grip in the rain.
Anthony Alfredo ran in Group A, posting the best time of the group – 76.071. By the time Group B got out on the track, light showers had picked up again. The best times in the second group were almost 1 second slower than the first group.
The final qualifying session did get started, but before drivers had a chance to put down a hot lap, the rain had picked up even more. While NASCAR is able to run in the rain at road courses like Portland International Raceway, all of the cars at this point were running on slick tires. Rather than calling all the final qualifiers down to change tires, they simply cancelled the final session, resulting in Anthony Alfredo’s lap time from Group A standing as the pole winner!
“By no means did I expect our first pole to be on a road course, but I just put a lot of work in behind the wheel and studied film to try to figure out how to be a better road course racer,” said Alfredo.
Not only was it his first career pole, but it was the first for his Our Motorsports as well, a team still looking for their first win. “This is big for our team, honestly, it’s one step closer to getting our first win. Some say it’s just a pole, but for us, we’re accomplishing a lot of big things as a small team. We don’t have a lot of resources, and we’re doing a lot with a little.”
Alfredo’s #23 Chevrolet Camaro has had a run of bad luck over the past few weeks, finishing with two DNFs and finishing P32 and P33. “We haven’t had any incidents all year long, and the last two weeks we’ve had DNFs,” he said. “We’ve been right on that playoff bubble.”
Despite recent trouble, Alfredo’s first career pole leaves him hopeful in his push for the playoffs. “With where we run, week in and week out […] it’s pretty challenging to make it in [to the playoffs], and this is definitely going to help us with that.”
Anthony Alfredo will hope to punch his ticket to the playoffs Saturday June 4, at the Inaugural Pacific Office Automation 147 in Portland, Oregon.