Larson soars to Coca-Cola 600 pole as Hendrick flexes muscle

Matt Thacker/Motorsport Images

Larson soars to Coca-Cola 600 pole as Hendrick flexes muscle


Larson soars to Coca-Cola 600 pole as Hendrick flexes muscle


The Hendrick hot streak continued Saturday morning during qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kyle Larson topped single-car qualifying to earn his first pole of the season with a lap of 180.282mph (29.953 seconds). It is Larson’s first pole at Charlotte and the ninth of his Cup Series career.

Larson goes into Sunday night’s race (6 p.m. ET, FOX) riding a wave of three straight second-place finishes.

“It felt really balanced — so a lot of times if that’s the case, you think it might be slow, so I wasn’t sure,” Larson said of his lap. “I honestly didn’t know what the 9 (Chase Elliott) ran for a lap, but cool when they said I was P1. Awesome to put our Metro Tech Chevrolet on the front row. Really cool for Chevy too — there’s a lot of Chevys up toward the front of the field in qualifying. That’s nice.

“A long race tomorrow. We’ll see what we can do. Never been that great in the 600 but Hendrick Motorsports has some awesome equipment; excited about it. Thanks to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports — the engine shop, Chevy, Mr. H. This is pretty cool to get a pole when we don’t get to qualify much this year.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins Larson on the front row. Stenhouse and JTG Daugherty use Hendrick engines and missed the top spot with a lap of 180.240mph (29.960 seconds).

Chase Elliott qualified third at 180.186mph, while teammate William Byron was fourth at 180.180mph. Kevin Harvick completed the top five at 180.042mph.

Austin Dillon was sixth fastest at 179.826mph, and Alex Bowman was seventh fastest at 179.730mph. Martin Truex Jr. was eighth fastest at 179.617mph.

Rounding out the top 10 was Daniel Suarez qualifying ninth at 179.587mph and Ross Chastain qualifying 10th at 179.569mph.

Defending race winner Brad Keselowski starts 13th. Point leader Denny Hamlin starts 14th. A total of 38 drivers will take the green flag at Charlotte.