Bell takes Cup pole at Talladega as JGR sweeps front row

Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front row in qualifying for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

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After dominating the first round of Saturday’s qualifying session, Martin Truex Jr. moved to the top of speed chart with one of 10 cars remaining in Round 2.

Christopher Bell, his JGR teammate, edged Truex with an average lap speed of 180.929 mph to win the pole, the second of his career. His first came earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"That was all my crew guys," Bell said. "I am very thankful to be in the position I am, driving the No. 20 Camry and we have a great team. This one is really big.

"Even from the first round to the second round, I could tell that my RPMs picked up really big going down the back straightaway. They were pretty big going down the flat straightaway. I don't know if (the wind) was an advantage to me. It definitely did not hurt.

"It's a pretty big stat for TRD to get a superspeedway pole."

Truex came in at 180.652 mph, while Daniel Hemric was third in a Chevrolet, Daniel Suarez was fourth and Kyle Larson ended up fifth.

Completing the top-10 starting lineup are Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick.

The top Ford qualifier was Joey Logano, who will line up 13th.

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Round 1

Toyota drivers led the way in the first round of qualifying, sweeping the top four positions.

Bell posted the fastest average lap speed (180.163 mph) followed by his JGR teammate Truex (179.905 mph) and 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch (179.763 mph).

Kurt Busch’s teammate, Wallace, ended up fourth and Suarez was fifth in a Chevrolet.

Also advancing to the final round were Larson, Hamlin, Byron, Hemric and Reddick.

Among those failing to advance were Kyle Busch, all three Team Penske cars – Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Austin Cindric – and all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars – Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer and Aric Almirola.

On Friday, the No. 77 Chevrolet of Landon Cassill failed pre-qualifying inspection three times. The team lost pit selection and was not permitted to qualify on Saturday.

In addition, Cassill will have to serve a pass-through penalty at the first opportunity after taking the green flag in Sunday’s race. The team’s car chief, JR Norris was also ejected from the track.

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