William Byron captured the pole for this weekend’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports put down a lap of 103.198 mph (80.932s) to earn his fifth pole of the season and Monster Energy Cup Series career. He also won the pole at Charlotte earlier this year in the Coca-Cola 600.
Byron sits above the playoff cutline by two points going into the elimination race Sunday afternoon. The driver sitting just below the cutline is none other than teammate Alex Bowman, who also managed to put down a strong lap at 103.078 mph to qualify second as the two share the front row.
“We’re going to have to fix a quarter panel,” Byron said of messing up in the last chicane. “I kind of missed that one, but I was trying to get all I could. I knew I was a little bit weak under the brakes the first couple of runs in Q-trim today, so I tried to fix it and maybe fixed it a little bit too good. But, the guys did a great job with this car and it really takes every corner around this race track to get a pole.
“I knew we could qualifying top five, but I really wanted the pole and really kind of went out there and got it. So, I’m proud of this UniFirst team. It’s going to be great to start up front.”
Completing the top five was Joey Logano (P) at 103.037 mph, Jimmie Johnson at 102.893 mph, and Clint Bowyer (P) at 102.838 mph. Bowyer is behind Byron and Bowman on the playoff grid by four points.
Rounding out the top 10 was Kevin Harvick (P) at 102.383 mph, Kyle Larson (P) at 102.359 mph, Martin Truex Jr. (P) 101.769 mph, Ryan Blaney (P) at 101.737 mph, and Paul Menard at 101.587 mph. Larson lost time when he missed the backstretch chicane in the final round.
Brad Keselowski (P) was 11th quickest at 101.486 mph. Erik Jones (P) rounded out the top 15 at 101.887 mph. Jones enters Charlotte likely needing to win the race to advance in the playoffs.
Other playoff drivers in qualifying: Aric Almirola was 16th, Kyle Busch 17th, Chase Elliott 19th, Kurt Busch 23rd, Ryan Newman 24th and Denny Hamlin 28th.
Elliott spun on the frontstretch in the first round, while Hamlin is in his backup car after crashing in practice.
Michael McDowell did qualify his Front Row Motorsports Ford after passing a kidney stone earlier in the day. He’ll start 22nd.
UP NEXT: Second practice at 11:05 a.m. ET Saturday.