Kyle Larson won his first Busch Pole Award at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Camaro with a 127.792 mph qualifying lap. It’s his third pole of the season and his seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career pole.
It will be a Chevrolet front row in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with Chase Elliott starting second after losing to Larson by .0127 seconds. Kyle Busch qualified third with a 127.639 lap and Paul Menard will start fourth. Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, William Byron, grabbed fifth place, his best career starting position.
Larson spoke about the significance of starting up front, saying, “The pole is important here at a short track with this pit road selection, having the first pit stall is huge. You know, it is still a long race, 500 laps here, the pole is important, but it doesn’t mean everything.
“We had a fast car in practice and race trim I felt like in second practice, so hopefully, that means we will be good tomorrow. The track will still change a lot, tighten up quite a bit, so we’ve just got to be prepared for that to make the right adjustments. I hope we put ourselves in position to get a win finally here at Bristol.”
Larson and Elliott will have to take advantage of their starting positions if they want to keep Busch, a seven-time Bristol winner, behind them.
“First, we’ve got to catch up,” Elliott said. We haven’t really even been in the ballpark, at least not in the spring race. I feel like we had a really good car here in the spring and got in a crash there a couple of laps in. So, yeah, I don’t know, to beat him here you’ve got to be perfect because he is perfect here and you’ve got to be perfect. You’ve got to have somethings go your way and at the end of the day, you’ve got to make it happen because that is what he does to win. He does a great job working lap traffic and changing lanes and moving around. So, be perfect or you are not going to beat him.”
Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 qualifiers and will start the race in positions sixth through 10th, respectively.
The 500-lap Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is scheduled for 6:46 p.m. ET Saturday night on NBCSN.
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