Larson wins first Bristol Cup pole

Image by Kinrade/LAT

Larson wins first Bristol Cup pole


Larson wins first Bristol Cup pole


Kyle Larson has already knocked a Bristol first from his to-list, and the race has yet to see the green flag.

Larson put his No. 42 Chevy on the pole for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with a lap of 127.792 mph. After sweeping all three rounds of qualifying Friday night, Larson will start from the top spot at the short track for the first time in his career.

Starting lineup

“The top five was tight,” Larson said of the final round. “I saw William [Byron] run his .04 there before I went out and I thought man, that’s going to be tough to beat. And, I would have never thought that three other guys would have squeezed in between him and me. That just shows how tough our sport is and our series is. But, our DC Solar Chevy has been really good all day, both in the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series.

“I felt a little off in first practice, but we got it going good in the second practice and then was fast every round in qualifying. It’s my favorite track; I have yet to get a win here. We’ve been close so many times. I feel like Kyle [Busch] and I are the two best here, but he always seems to edge me out. Hopefully, this weekend is a little different.”

Larson now has three poles in 2018 and seven on his career.

However, the other first Larson wants to achieve at Bristol is getting to victory lane. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has been fast and a familiar face at the front of the field, but nothing to show for it. In nine Bristol starts, Larson has five top-10 finishes and was second in the spring race.

Chase Elliott will start second. Elliott’s best lap was 127.665mph.

“It was close,” said Elliott. “It wasn’t perfect. But I got through [Turns] 1 and 2 pretty good and maybe gave up a little bit in 3 and 4. But I mean, heck, two-hundredths of a second, I don’t really know how to characterize that. But, I just hate we couldn’t grab a pole. We put a lot of effort into it.

“Our KKB Chevrolet was fast today, and if there was ever a place still, with these closer segment times on pit road, that you want that first pit box, this is it. So, that would have been big. But, we’ll go get it from second.”

Defending race winner Kyle Busch will start third after a lap of 127.639mph. Busch is also seeking his third consecutive Bristol win.

Paul Menard (127.605mph) and William Byron (127.554mph) finished out the top five.

The rest of the top 10 are Kevin Harvick (127.039mph), Denny Hamlin (126.896mph), Aric Almirola (126.880mph), Kurt Busch (126.863mph), and Ryan Blaney (126.762mph).

Other notables: Brad Keselowski will start 11th, Jimmie Johnson 13th, Clint Bowyer 16th, Martin Truex Jr. 17th, and Kasey Kahne 26th.

BJ McLeod was the only DNQ for the race.

UP NEXT: Green flag for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at 6:46 p.m. ET Saturday.

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