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Austin Dillon wins pole after nobody posts final round speed

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Austin Dillon wins pole after nobody posts final round speed
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Mar 15, 2019, 10:45 PM

Austin Dillon won his first pole of the 2019 season and didn’t need to post a speed in the final round of qualifying to do it.

Like his fellow 11 competitors in the final round of Friday’s knockout qualifying, Dillon waited too late to attempt his qualifying run.

None of the 12 cars reached the timing line before five-minute clock expired for the round, which left none of the 12 drivers with a qualifying speed. In that event, the results revert to Round 2, where Dillon posted the fastest speed.

The pole is fourth of Dillon’s career.

“That was fun right there. That goes back to Round 2 when (spotter) Andy Houston did a great job getting us a hole (on the track),” Dillon said.

“Our car has been good all day. I felt like we had the fastest car here. It feels good to get that pole. That was wild right there. Everybody was fighting for it.

“(Kyle Busch) took off and I kind of hedging back and forth. I just kind of waited and nobody was going to make it, but I was good with it because I knew it would revert back to us.”

Reverting back to Round 2, that leaves Kevin Harvick in second, Aric Almirola in third, Kyle Busch fourth and Joey Logano fifth.

Rounding out the Top 12 starters are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

Round 2

The second round featured a mad dash by 23 of the 24 cars to wait until the final minute before completing their qualifying attempt.

Teams believed a draft would produce the fastest speed but no one wanted to be the first car on the track.

Once they all crossed the line, Austin Dillon once again remained atop the leaderboard followed by Harvick, Almirola, Kyle Busch and Logano.

Also advancing to the final round were Hamlin, Newman, Elliott, Bowyer, Blaney, Johnson and Stenhouse.

Among those who failed to advance were Kurt Busch, who was the only car to make a single-car run in Round 2, and Kyle Larson, who ended up being the first car in the draft.

“That was the way I knew how to control the most elements,” Kurt Busch said. “I didn’t feel quite confident in our car to go wide-open in the draft.”

Also failing to make the cut were Brad Keselowski, Daniel Hemric, William Byron and Alex Bowman.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 1 39.982     180.081
2 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 1 40.137 0.155 0.155 179.386
3 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 1 40.205 0.223 0.068 179.082
4 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 1 40.247 0.265 0.042 178.895
5 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 1 40.248 0.266 0.001 178.891
6 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 1 40.312 0.330 0.064 178.607
7 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 1 40.334 0.352 0.022 178.509
8 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 1 40.356 0.374 0.022 178.412
9 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 1 40.368 0.386 0.012 178.359
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 1 40.378 0.396 0.010 178.315
11 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 1 40.380 0.398 0.002 178.306
12 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 1 40.405 0.423 0.025 178.196
13 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 1 40.448 0.466 0.043 178.006
14 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 1 40.491 0.509 0.043 177.817
15 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 1 40.505 0.523 0.014 177.756
16 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 1 40.523 0.541 0.018 177.677
17 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 1 40.545 0.563 0.022 177.580
18 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 1 40.590 0.608 0.045 177.384
19 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 1 40.613 0.631 0.023 177.283
20 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 1 40.620 0.638 0.007 177.253
21 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 1 40.644 0.662 0.024 177.148
22 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 1 40.733 0.751 0.089 176.761
23 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 1 41.141 1.159 0.408 175.008
24 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 1 41.497 1.515 0.356 173.507

Round 1

Austin Dillon continued to show single-car speed and led the way in the first round of knockout qualifying.

Dillon’s average lap speed of 179.951 mph edged Logano (179.515 mph) and Elliott (179.506 mph). Blaney was fourth and Almirola completed the top-10.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Buescher, Johnson, Byron, DeBenedetto and Newman.

Among those who failed to advance to Round 2 were defending race winner, Martin Truex Jr., who will line up 27th on Sunday.

“We’ve been struggling a little bit on Fridays but I know it will be right tomorrow,” Truex said. “We’ll have to pass some cars on Sunday but I know we can do it.”

Also not advancing were Paul Menard, Bubba Wallace and Michael McDowell.

With less than eight minutes remaining in the 10-minute session, Chase Elliott spun off Turn 2 to bring out a caution. He did not appear to hit anything.

“Just got loose out there,” Elliott said over his team radio.

Newman had his car chief ejected for the remainder of the weekend after his No. 6 Ford failed pre-qualifying inspection twice on Friday. He will also lose 15 minutes of practice time in Saturday’s final practice.

25 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 3 40.534 0.523 0.016 177.629
26 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 2 40.572 0.561 0.038 177.462
27 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 3 40.580 0.569 0.008 177.427
28 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 2 40.666 0.655 0.086 177.052
29 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 3 40.874 0.863 0.208 176.151
30 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 1 40.941 0.930 0.067 175.863
31 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 1 41.158 1.147 0.217 174.936
32 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 3 41.184 1.173 0.026 174.825
33 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 3 41.400 1.389 0.216 173.913
34 51 Cody Ware  Chevrolet 2 41.745 1.734 0.345 172.476
35 27 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 1 42.442 2.431 0.697 169.643
36 52 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 1 42.755 2.744 0.313 168.401
37 77 United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 1 42.806 2.795 0.051 168.201
38 66 United States Joey Gase  Toyota 2 43.519 3.508 0.713 165.445
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Fontana
Drivers Austin Dillon
Author Jim Utter