Kwasniewski wins Nationwide pole at Daytona

JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer Published:

By Jenna Fryer | AP

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Danica Patrick cleared a path for her teammates in NASCAR's new knockout qualifying that led to a Turner Scott Motorsports rout at Daytona International Speedway.

Dylan Kwasniewski won the pole for his Nationwide Series debut -- the first rookie since Rusty Wallace in 1985 to win the pole at Daytona -- by following Patrick and Kyle Larson through traffic in Friday's qualifying session.

The 18-year-old topped the speed chart with a lap at 192.078 mph in the rain-shortened qualifying session. Larson qualified second with a lap at 192.074 and Patrick was third as Turner Scott's cars went 1-2-3 for Saturday's race.

"Danica did a fantastic job of leading us through the pack and getting us clean through there," said Kwasniewski, winner of the K&N East title last year and the K&N West title in 2012.

"Being a rookie, it was hard for me to make the decisions on where to go," he said. "Danica did a fantastic job, she got us through clean and I was coming up to a sea of cars on the back straight and I was like, 'I have no idea how we are going to be able to get us through this.' But she picked her way through perfectly, got us in the right position and got us all three a great lap. We stuck together and made sure we could be a team out there."

Elliott, Labonte nominated for NASCAR Hall of Fame

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte are among the first-year eligible nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Mark Martin failed to make the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

NASCAR announced sweeping changes to the Hall of Fame election process last year, making drivers eligible if they have competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR or turned 55 in the calendar year before nominating day.

Previously, drivers were not eligible until they had been retired for three years, so drivers can continue to compete and still reach the hall.

The ballot will also include only 20 nominees, down five from the first five classes.

Les Richter, Ralph Seagraves, Annie B. France, T. Wayne Robertson, and Clay Earles were dropped off the ballot.

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