Texas Motor Speedway was painted blue Friday night during NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for the AAA Texas 500.
Ford Oval blue, that is.
Ryan Blaney led the way for the manufacturer, putting down a 200.595mph lap for his third pole of the season. The speed was the second-fastest pole all-time on a 1.5-mile track behind Kurt Busch’s 200.915mph run last November at the same speedway.
“That was a really good lap, and we made good changes,” Blaney told NBC Sports. “I messed up my second round pretty bad (only eighth fastest after leading Round 1), I got greedy in Turn 1 and [went] in there too fast and was really bad up the racetrack. We made good changes for the last round and I didn’t get in the corner as hard, and that helped it out.
“Really, really proud of this Carlisle team, the 12 group, it’s pretty neat. We were saying even though we’re out of the playoffs we want to go, obviously, win races and our car has been fast all day. Hopefully, we can keep it. I’m excited for race trim tomorrow and happy to be here in Texas. This is pretty cool, so congrats to the 12 team, that’s all those guys.”
Ford drivers took the top five spots in qualifying and seven of the top 10.
Joining Blaney on the front row is Clint Bowyer, whose fastest lap was 200.230mph.
Defending race winner Kevin Harvick will start third after clocking in at 199.941mph. Aric Almirola was fourth fastest at 199.778mph. Brad Keselowski completed the top five at 199.527mph.
The rest of the top 10 were Denny Hamlin at 199.255mph, Kurt Busch at 199.225mph, Joey Logano at 199.086mph, William Byron at 199.071mph, and Kyle Busch at 198.705mph.
Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott were the only two playoff drivers who failed to advance to the final round of qualifying. Truex will start 13th with a lap of 197.962mph. Elliott will line up 16th on the grid following a lap of 197.686mph.
In the final seconds of Round 1, David Ragan’s No. 38 Ford spun off Turn 4 through the frontstretch grass and quarter-mile, which led to the hood of the car popping up and repairs being needed.
All 40 drivers who qualified will start the race after the No. 66 of Timmy Hill withdrew from the event.
UP NEXT: Second practice at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday.