Larson powers to Martinsville Cup pole

Nigel Kinrade/Motorsport Images

Larson powers to Martinsville Cup pole

NASCAR

Larson powers to Martinsville Cup pole

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Kyle Larson is still at the top of the leaderboard in the NASCAR Cup Series with the Busch Light Pole Award win Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway.

Larson will lead the field to the green flag after a qualifying lap of 96.078mph (19.709s). He enters the weekend fresh off a dominating victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which put his car in the owner’s championship in the season finale.

“I just tried to be smooth, keep traction the whole lap, and it worked out,” Larson said. “I tried to go a little bit harder the first lap than I did the round before. I kind of locked up, so I just kind of backed it down the second lap. I feel like a lot of times here, slower is faster, so I just tried to be smooth with it. I’m surprised I did anything good here at Martinsville, so off to a good start so far. Hopefully, we can keep it going tomorrow.”

It’s his fourth pole of the season and the 14th of his career.

Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott, qualified second with a fastest lap of 96.019mph.

Chase Briscoe, last on the playoff grid, qualified third. Briscoe clocked in at 96.109mph.

Ryan Blaney qualified fourth (95.927mph) and Cole Custer fifth (95.733mph), with Brad Keselowski sixth (95.719 mph).

Daniel Suarez qualified seventh (95.588mph), Kevin Harvick eighth (95.530mph), Ross Chastain ninth (95.501mph) and Harrison Burton completed the top 10 (94.998 mph).

The remaining playoffs drivers were: Denny Hamlin in 11th (95.815mph), Joey Logano in 12th (95.801mph), Christopher Bell in 20th (95.242mph), and William Byron in 25th (94.955mph).

The four drivers below the playoff grid cutline are Hamlin, Blaney, Bell, and Briscoe.

Alex Bowman won the fall Martinsville race last season. Bowman will miss his fifth race Sunday because of a concussion, but has been cleared to return to action next weekend.

UP NEXT: Xfinity 500 at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday.

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