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Qualifying report

William Byron beats Martin Truex Jr. to Pocono Cup pole

The top two drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series will slug it out on the front row in Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway.

Pole sitter William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron, currently second in the series standings, saved his best for the last round and won the pole for Sunday’s race.

Byron’s average lap speed of 170.629 mph was the fastest lap turned in practice or qualifying and just eclipsed series point leader Martin Truex Jr. (170.235 mph), who won last weekend’s race at New Hampshire.

The pole is the third this season for Byron and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team and 11th of his career.

“Qualifying is super-rewarding at this place,” Byron said. “I’ve always loved coming to Pocono ever since Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and I were together (in the Truck Series). He brought a really fast Truck here. We’ve just kind of have had a feel for the place after that.

“Tomorrow is a long day. Rehydrate, regroup, had a long week of racing, so hopefully tomorrow is a good result for us. It would be nice to get a win.”

Byron’s HMS teammate, Kyle Larson, will start third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Christopher Bell, will round out the top five.

Completing the top-10 starting lineup are Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick – who was fastest in practice, Denny Hamlin, Austin Cindric and Bubba Wallace.

During his final round qualifying attempt, Bubba Wallace tagged the wall while exiting Turn 1 and appeared to do some significant right-side damage to his No. 23 Toyota.

Repairs to his car will likely mean Wallace will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.

Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesWILLIAM BYRONHendrick Motorsports 24 1 52.746   170.629
2 United StatesMARTIN TRUEX JR.Joe Gibbs Racing 19 1 +0.122 0.122 170.235
3 United StatesKYLE LARSONHendrick Motorsports 5 1 +0.172 0.050 170.074
4 United StatesKEVIN HARVICKStewart-Haas Racing 4 1 +0.273 0.101 169.750
5 United StatesCHRISTOPHER BELLJoe Gibbs Racing 20 1 +0.306 0.033 169.645
6 United StatesJOEY LOGANOTeam Penske 22 1 +0.360 0.054 169.472
7 United StatesTYLER REDDICK23XI Racing 45 1 +0.395 0.035 169.361
8 United StatesDENNY HAMLINJoe Gibbs Racing 11 1 +0.447 0.052 169.195
9 United StatesAUSTIN CINDRICTeam Penske 2 1 +0.664 0.217 168.508
10 United StatesBUBBA WALLACE23XI Racing 23 0      

Round 1 / Group A

Toyotas showed the way in the first group as Wallace topped the session with an average lap speed of 170.380 mph.

Fellow Toyota drivers Hamlin (169.738 mph) and Bell (168.878 mph) were second and third-fastest, respectively.

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Cindric and Logano.

Among those who failed to advance were Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and Michael McDowell.

Todd Gilliland spun around during his qualifying lap in Turn 2 but did not appear to make any contact with his No. 38 Ford.

Round 1 / Group B

Reddick, who was fastest in practice on Saturday, topped Group B with a blistering average lap speed of 170.442 mph – the fastest lap of the day at the time.

“Bubba was p1 in Group A and we were p1 in Group B. Everyone at 23XI Racing did a fantastic job this weekend," Reddick said.

Harvick was second-fastest (170.271 mph) and Byron third (170.245 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Truex and Larson.

Among those who failed to advance to the final round were Ty Gibbs, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott.

Elliott looped it around during his qualifying lap in Turn 2 but was able to keep his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet off the wall.

 

With multiple flat tires in the incident, the changes needed to Elliott’s car will likely mean he will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.

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