Elliott keeps Hendrick hot with Phoenix pole

Image by Matthew Thacker/LAT

Elliott keeps Hendrick hot with Phoenix pole

NASCAR

Elliott keeps Hendrick hot with Phoenix pole

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Chase Elliott continued the Hendrick Motorsports hot streak in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Phoenix Raceway.

The Hendrick organization arrived in the Arizona desert off a win by Alex Bowman in Fontana. A win after Bowman swept both Fontana practice sessions. So far, Phoenix is off to the same start with Elliott and William Byron sweeping both 50-minute sessions on Friday.

Elliott will lead the field to the green flag at Phoenix on Sunday afternoon after grabbing the pole in qualifying. The 31st driver to take time in single-car qualifying, Elliott laid down a lap of 138.116mph (26.065 seconds).

The pole is the ninth of Elliott’s Cup Series career and first of the season as well as at Phoenix.

“The line through (Turns) 1 and 2 was a lot different; Kevin [Harvick] kind of made the top work, and I think after that, everyone saw that and moved up,” said Elliott. “Great to get a pole. Little bit different colors this week with UniFirst on our Camaro, so excited to grab them a pole. It’s always a good thing when you can put down a fast lap.

“I just hope tomorrow goes good. That’s always the challenge. We’ll see. Looking forward to it.”

With Elliott’s pole run, he knocked Harvick from the top spot. Harvick will start on the front row following a lap of 137.878mph. Harvick is a nine-time winner at Phoenix. He most recently won at the track in the spring of 2018 with an aero package similar to what teams are running this weekend.

The rest of the top five were Denny Hamlin (137.841mph), Kyle Larson (137.604mph), and Ryan Blaney (137.457mph).

Aric Almirola (137.457mph) was sixth fastest with Kurt Busch (137.420mph) seventh fastest. Eighth was Bowman (137.321mph) with Matt DiBenedetto ninth (137.289mph), and Kyle Busch rounding out the top 10 (137.247mph). Busch is the defending race winner.

Martin Truex Jr. clocked in 12th fastest at 136.997 mph. However, Truex was qualifying for pit selection as he will drop to the rear for the start Sunday afternoon. Before qualifying, the No. 19 team changed the engine in his Toyota.

Ross Chastain qualified 24th for Roush Fenway Racing.

RESULTS

UP NEXT: Fan Shield 500 at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

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