Daytona Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Qualifying for the 250-mile Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway came to an abrupt end on Friday afternoon when a pop-up rain shower soaked the backstretch and caused a multi- car crash.
With 17 minutes completed in the first 25-minute round of qualifying, a brief shower moved over this 2.5-mile superspeedway. The dampness on the track caused Mike Bliss to lose control and spin in a tight pack of cars as they were coming out of turn 4. It triggered a nine-car incident. Ross Chastain, Matt DiBenedetto, Benny Gordon, Blake Koch, Scott Lagasse Jr., Eric McClure, Joe Nemechek and Robert Richardson Jr. were also involved.
Race officials had begun the track-drying process before another shower moved over the area, as rain fell on the frontstretch. NASCAR called off the remainder of the first round as well as the second and third segments in qualifying.
Dakoda Armstrong, who drives the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, had posted the quickest lap prior to the multi-car crash. Armstrong's lap at 192.123 mph gave him the pole position for the first time in his Nationwide career.
Trevor Bayne qualified second, followed by his Roush Fenway Racing teammates Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed, giving Ford the top-four starting positions for Friday night's race at Daytona.
Finishing fifth through 10th in qualifying were: Kyle Busch, Elliott Sadler, the current points leader, Chase Elliott, Regan Smith, who won the Nationwide season-opener at Daytona in February, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Kyle Larson.
Qualifying for the Nationwide race here in February was also interrupted by rain during the first round. Rookie Dylan Kwasniewski claimed his first pole in the series.