Kyle Larson edges Chase Elliott for Bristol pole

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Kyle Larson edges Chase Elliott for Bristol pole
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Aug 17, 2018, 10:41 PM

Kyle Larson left little doubt he has the speed to contend for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Larson ended up fastest in all three rounds of Friday’s knockout qualifying, using an average lap speed of 127.792 mph to win the pole for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops 500.

The pole is his third of the year, seventh of his career and first at Bristol. Larson started first in the 2017 spring race at Bristol but the field was set by owner points when qualifying was rained out.

"It's always good to qualify well but this is my favorite race track so it's nice to start out front and hopefully we can lead a lot of laps tomorrow and finally close on of these things out," Larson said.

"I've been close so many times. I feel like I've ran second or third and led the most laps here so many times. Hopefully this is the weekend that we can close it out. I feel like I have two really good cars, both for the Xfintiy Series and here tomorrow as well."

Larson’s previous best finish at Bristol in nine starts was second in this year’s spring race.

Chase Elliott ended up second (127.665 mph) and Kyle Busch – who won the spring race – was third (127.639 mph). Paul Menard was fourth and rookie William Byron completed the top-five.

"You have to be really close to perfect, if not perfect here," Elliott said. It's so hard to be good for 500 laps, but that's what it takes. I really wanted that first pit box, that makes such a huge difference here. If there's any place that makes a difference, it's here."

Rounding out the Top 12 starters are Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 3 15.015     127.792
2 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 3 15.030 0.015 0.015 127.665
3 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 4 15.033 0.018 0.003 127.639
4 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 4 15.037 0.022 0.004 127.605
5 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 5 15.043 0.028 0.006 127.554
6 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 3 15.104 0.089 0.061 127.039
7 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 3 15.121 0.106 0.017 126.896
8 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 3 15.123 0.108 0.002 126.880
9 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 3 15.125 0.110 0.002 126.863
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 4 15.137 0.122 0.012 126.762
11 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 5 15.198 0.183 0.061 126.253
12 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 4 15.230 0.215 0.032 125.988

Round 2

Larson was the first car on the track in the second round but didn’t begin his lap until just under four minutes remained in the session.

He still ended up with the fastest average lap of the session, coming in at 127.631 mph. Menard was second (127.123 mph) and Kyle Busch was third (126.972 mph). Keselowski and Hamlin completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Elliott, Kurt Busch, Harvick, Blaney, Byron, Almirola and Stenhouse.

“I lost all kinds of grip with the right front,” Stenhouse said over his team radio following his run.

Among those who failed to advance were Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Alex Bowman, who tagged the wall during his qualifying run.

“We were really fast in the first round and it just didn’t transfer over to the second round,” Jones said. “We’ll have some cars to pass tomorrow night. We’ll work from behind but I think we’ll be fine.”

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 3 15.034     127.631
2 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 2 15.094 0.060 0.060 127.123
3 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 4 15.112 0.078 0.018 126.972
4 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 4 15.125 0.091 0.013 126.863
5 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 2 15.131 0.097 0.006 126.813
6 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 2 15.135 0.101 0.004 126.779
7 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 3 15.138 0.104 0.003 126.754
8 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 3 15.146 0.112 0.008 126.687
9 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 4 15.154 0.120 0.008 126.620
10 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 3 15.225 0.191 0.071 126.030
11 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 4 15.226 0.192 0.001 126.021
12 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 3 15.237 0.203 0.011 125.930
13 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 6 15.238 0.204 0.001 125.922
14 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 3 15.246 0.212 0.008 125.856
15 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 5 15.266 0.232 0.020 125.691
16 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 4 15.268 0.234 0.002 125.675
17 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 4 15.271 0.237 0.003 125.650
18 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 3 15.278 0.244 0.007 125.592
19 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 4 15.294 0.260 0.016 125.461
20 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 4 15.301 0.267 0.007 125.404
21 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 4 15.306 0.272 0.005 125.363
22 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 4 15.336 0.302 0.030 125.117
23 6 United States Trevor Bayne  Ford 5 15.342 0.308 0.006 125.068
24 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 4 15.431 0.397 0.089 124.347

Round 1

Larson set a blistering pace in the first round and his average lap speed of 127.946 mph was the fastest lap run so far on Friday.

Elliott ended up second (127.098 mph) and Blaney third (126.955 mph). Stenhouse and Suarez completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Johnson, Jones, McMurray, Hamlin and Bayne.

Among those who failed to advance to Round 2 were A.J. Allmendinger, Chris Buescher, Kasey Kahne, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Ty Dillon.

“It was good on the bottom and we were able to run some good laps up top. We’ll get some speed going and get some momentum and try to keep moving forward,” Buescher said.

“We have something I feel like we can move around. The PJ1 ran out real quickly. Just trying to figure out how to get more qualifying speed. I think our race speed is good.”

Most of the cars waited until there was just over seven minutes left in the 15-minute first round before they ventured out on the track to make their qualifying runs.

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 2 14.997     127.946
2 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 2 15.097 0.100 0.100 127.098
3 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 2 15.114 0.117 0.017 126.955
4 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 2 15.126 0.129 0.012 126.854
5 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 2 15.130 0.133 0.004 126.821
6 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 3 15.138 0.141 0.008 126.754
7 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 2 15.170 0.173 0.032 126.486
8 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 2 15.205 0.208 0.035 126.195
9 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 5 15.233 0.236 0.028 125.963
10 6 United States Trevor Bayne  Ford 4 15.238 0.241 0.005 125.922
11 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 2 15.239 0.242 0.001 125.914
12 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 2 15.241 0.244 0.002 125.897
13 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 3 15.252 0.255 0.011 125.806
14 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 3 15.259 0.262 0.007 125.749
15 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 2 15.261 0.264 0.002 125.732
16 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 2 15.262 0.265 0.001 125.724
17 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 2 15.264 0.267 0.002 125.708
18 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 3 15.272 0.275 0.008 125.642
19 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 5 15.278 0.281 0.006 125.592
20 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 3 15.279 0.282 0.001 125.584
21 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 2 15.281 0.284 0.002 125.568
22 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 5 15.290 0.293 0.009 125.494
23 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 6 15.294 0.297 0.004 125.461
24 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 7 15.308 0.311 0.014 125.346
25 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 3 15.363 0.366 0.055 124.897
26 95 United States Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 6 15.426 0.429 0.063 124.387
27 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 8 15.435 0.438 0.009 124.315
28 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 4 15.448 0.451 0.013 124.210
29 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 5 15.466 0.469 0.018 124.066
30 72 United States Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 3 15.482 0.485 0.016 123.937
31 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 4 15.514 0.517 0.032 123.682
32 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 8 15.567 0.570 0.053 123.261
33 96 Jesse Little  Toyota 4 15.688 0.691 0.121 122.310
34 7 United States J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 7 15.754 0.757 0.066 121.798
35 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 4 15.758 0.761 0.004 121.767
36 51 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 3 15.822 0.825 0.064 121.274
37 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 12 15.882 0.885 0.060 120.816
38 99 United States Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 12 15.899 0.902 0.017 120.687
39 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 7 15.936 0.939 0.037 120.407
40 23 Jones Blake  Toyota 9 16.101 1.104 0.165 119.173
41 52 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 12 15.909 0.912   120.611
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Bristol II
Author Jim Utter