Hendrick drivers lock up the Bristol front row

Image by Harrelson/LAT

Hendrick drivers lock up the Bristol front row

NASCAR

Hendrick drivers lock up the Bristol front row

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Hendrick Motorsports drivers will start on the front row for the second consecutive week in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Chase Elliott and William Byron were the quickest two drivers in the final round of qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway, with Elliott earning his fifth career pole. The No. 9 Chevrolet ran a quick lap of 131.713 mph (14.568s) while Byron posted a lap of 131.371 mph.

The pole is the first of the season for Elliott and his first at Bristol.

“It’s awesome,” said Elliott. “I’ve really been wanting a pole outside of Daytona and Talladega for a long time now, so I feel like I was finally able to contribute from my end a little bit more and get a pole that my team certainly deserves. We’ve got a fast NAPA Chevy.

“I appreciate everybody’s efforts at Hendrick Motorsports — the engine department and the chassis shop and everybody back home. They’ve been working really hard to try to get better, and this is a big deal.

“We have some work to do, I think, for Sunday and we’ll go to work tomorrow and try to get it driving good for 500 laps. That’s a long time.”

Byron narrowly missed the pole, but will start next to Elliott on an all-Hendrick Chevrolet front row. Image by Jarrett/LAT

Completing the top five were Ryan Blaney (131.182mph), Erik Jones (131.057), and Denny Hamlin (130.700).

Aric Almirola was sixth fastest at 130.602 mph followed by three fellow Ford drivers — Joey Logano (Team Penske, 130.229) seventh, Almirola’s Stewart-Haas teammate Clint Bowyer (130.168) eighth, and Paul Menard (Wood Brothers, 130.026) ninth.

Jimmie Johnson’s Hendrick Camaro rounded out the top 10 at 129.824 mph.

Kyle Busch, the defending race winner, will start 17th after failing to advance to the final round. His brother Kurt, the most recent winner at Bristol, also did not advance out of the first round and will start 27th.

UP NEXT: Second practice at 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday.

QUALIFYING

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