Daniel Hemric (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric drove his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet to pole on Saturday for the 41st annual beef. That’s what’s for dinner. 300.

Hemric accelerated his Chevrolet around Daytona International Speedway 2.5 miles to 182.849 mph. It was his second pole in eight races at Daytona and sixth pole in 121 Xfinity Series starts.

This is his first race behind the wheel for team owner Matt Kaulig.

RANGE: Beef. That’s what’s for dinner 300

“It’s definitely a pleasant surprise,” Hemric said. “I don’t know why I’m surprised. Everyone at Kaulig Racing has been racking their brains all season.

“Man, it’s so much fun to be back here at Daytona. I’m so grateful that they took a chance on me to give me this opportunity.

“I didn’t know we had the speed to sit on pole on the one-car runs yesterday, but after the first moto today we had the fastest speed and we were like, ‘Dude , might as well aim for pole.’

“It’s special every time you do something like this at Daytona. I can’t wait to have fun today.

Austin Hill finished second at 182.423 mph in the #21 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. It was his first top 10 in two races at Daytona.

Hill is from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and won at Daytona in that series. Starting from the front row is a great start to his Xfinity Series season.

“It makes it a lot easier to be in the front row,” Hill said. “I thought we had a chance, but the Kaulig guys were pretty good there. We’re still as fast as Xfinity Internet, but not quite.

“We’ll take it. Number one. Daytona. We have a chance to win. We’ve got a teammate close to us, so hopefully we can go out there and have a good night.

Jade Buford finished third and posted her second top 10 at Daytona. Buford’s speed was 182.352 mph in the No. 48 Chevrolet.

Sheldon Creed’s Chevrolet finished fourth at 181.998 mph and Brett Moffitt’s Chevrolet rounded out the top five at 181.642 mph.

Positions 6-10 included Landon Cassill, Josh Berry, Ryan Vargas, Brandon Jones and Riley Herbst.

David Starr, Alex Labbe, Stefan Parsons, Mason Massey, Natalie Decker, Gray Gaulding, Ronnie Bassett Jr., Harrison Rhodes and Tim Viens did not qualify for Saturday’s race.

Beef. That’s what’s for dinner. 300 begins shortly after 5 p.m. EST.