Clint Bowyer will start from the pole in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race after having the fastest lap and pit stop in qualifying.
Bowyer’s fastest speed was 136.371 mph while his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team pitted the car in 14.8 seconds. The pole is Bowyer’s first for the All-Star Race.
“What that means is hell has frozen over,” Bowyer said. “I don’t know what happened; I think my throttle stuck or something. I’m proud of the guys, though. Our car was extremely fast on lap speed and the launch. I actually didn’t get on pit road nearly as well as I wanted to. I had my dead-set line that I wasn’t lifting until … but after I screwed up the entry, I drove past that line.
“The pit crew did a great job and it all came together for us. I hope Marcus Smith knows how bad I want to win tomorrow night and take his million dollars because I’m coming for it and this is a great start toward that payday.”
Kyle Busch, the 2017 winner of the All-Star Race, will join Bowyer on the front row. Busch held the top spot for much of the qualifying session after running 136.168 mph.
Completing the top five in qualifying were Kevin Harvick at 136.068 mph, Austin Dillon at 135.776 mph, and Martin Truex Jr. at 134.625 mph.
Harvick was last year’s All-Star Race winner.
Rounding out the top 10 were Ryan Newman (134.570 mph), Erik Jones (134.546 mph), Jimmie Johnson (134.262 mph), Ryan Blaney (134.004 mph), and Joey Logano (133.241 mph).
Only four drivers had an issue during their qualifying attempt. Both Logano and Aric Almirola lost time when they overshot their pit stalls and had to back up. Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch both had one loose lug nut which added five seconds to their overall time, pushing them to 14th and 15th on the starting grid.
The All-Star Race is scheduled for approximately 8 p.m. EDT Saturday.
Daniel Hemric, meanwhile, will start on the pole for the Monster Energy Open (Saturday, 6 p.m. EDT). Hemric was fastest in both rounds of single car qualifying, earning the pole with a lap of 182.168 mph (29.643 seconds).
“I feel good about it,” said Hemric. “Obviously, having speed with as short as the stages are, hopefully we can lock this Bass Pro Shops Camaro … in as far as the All-Star goes, but we’ve got to have a solid first stage. I’m proud of these guys. I said on the radio this is the first box checked for the weekend. You’ve got to bring the fastest race car you can, and we’ve done that.
“Hopefully we can do our jobs tomorrow and do what we need to do to get in the All-Star Race and really have some fun.”
A rookie of the year contender, this will be Hemric’s first Monster Energy Open and attempt at the All-Star Race. He’ll be joined on the front row by Michael McDowell who put down a fast lap of 181.226 mph.
The rest of the top 10 for the Open are William Byron (181.093 mph), Daniel Suarez (181.044 mph), Paul Menard (180.662 mph), Alex Bowman (180.493 mph), Kyle Larson (180.493 mph), Chris Buescher (179.211 mph), David Ragan (179.724 mph), and Darrell Wallace Jr. (179.563 mph).
Winners of the three segments in the Open will advance into the All-Star Race.