By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – As the NASCAR Xfinity Series entered Charlotte Motor Speedway, Brennan Poole was looking to rebound after two consecutive finishes outside the Top 20.
Poole clearly had speed off the truck as his No. 48 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro was second on the speed charts in the first practice. In the final practice, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver slipped to 16th on the charts. In qualifying, Poole made it to round three, ending up 11th on the starting grid for the Hisense 4K TV 300.
From the drop of the green flag Poole was quick to move up. As he made his way up the leaderboard, he bounced off teammate Tyler Reddick in Stage 1. Both drivers continued with minimal damage.
Poole took the green and white checkered flag in the fifth position, gaining six additional Championship points.
Stage 2 was quiet as it ran caution-free. However, Poole and Ryan Reed did make contact, again, with minimal damage for either driver. Poole finished the second stage in the 10th position, gaining another championship point.
The third and final stage was eventful for the 26-year-old driver. Contact between Poole and Denny Hamlin sent Poole bouncing off the outside wall in turns three and four. Poole dropped outside the Top 25 as he pitted for repairs, going on the five-minute repair clock.
The Chad Norris-led crew fixed the damage easily, sending Poole back into the action. With under 40 laps to go, Poole then started a charge back up through the field.
With the aid of four caution, Poole found himself just inside the Top 10 on the final restart with three laps to go. On the restart he moved forward, as high as the sixth position before slipping back. When he took the checkered flag, he was in the eighth position.
This is Poole’s fourth Top 10 of the season and 23rd of his career. This is also the fifth Top 10 in a row (not in consecutive races) in which Poole has finished eighth. He moved up three positions in the Driver Championship point standings to seventh, 103 points behind Elliott Sadler.
Poole was proud of his team and their Top 10 finish,
“They all seem to be eighth place finishes. I don’t know what we need to do to run a little bit better. We were fast in the beginning of the race. We had a top five in the first stage so, it’s really promising. I’m proud of my team and the communication all weekend. We were really good and fast in practice, qualified pretty decent. We just got to keep working on some things and need to be a little bit better at the end of the race.”
“Coming from the back after getting in the wall after battling with Denny, we just had some ground to make up and not a lot of time to do it. To battle back and finish eighth, I’m proud of that. I love Dover, going to a great track next week. I have a lot of friends and family there, and will try to get a win.”
Poole shrugged off the contact as hard racing,
“It’s just a part of racing. Just hard racing. I got into my teammate a little bit. I only seem to hit the 16, Ryan Reed, I don’t mean too. Ryan and I used to be teammates at Venturini. We always race really well together. Gosh, we just keep hitting each other, I don’t know what’s going on. Then getting into it with Denny (Hamlin) was just racing hard for position at the end, it was just tough to pass all afternoon. One groove was better than others at times. I was just trying to stay in front of him and just used the air on my quarter panel, got me loose and I hit the fence. That’s just part of racing in Xfinity. It’s a tough deal, but it was a lot of fun.”
Now Poole, Norris, and his No. 48 team will look to capitalize on their momentum at Dover International Speedway.