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Chase Elliott tops William Byron for Bristol pole

Chase Elliott tops William Byron for Bristol pole
Apr 5, 2019, 10:55 PM

Chase Elliott saved his best for last and ended up with the pole.

Ryan Blaney actually set a track qualifying record in Round 2 of Friday’s qualifying session at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but Elliott was fastest in the final round.

Elliott’s average lap speed of 131.389 mph topped William Byron (131.371 mph) and Blaney (131.182 mph).  Erik Jones was fourth and Denny Hamlin completed the top-five.

The pole is the first for Elliott this season and fifth of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. All four of his previous Cup poles have come on superspeedways.

"I've been wanting a pole outside of Daytona and Talladega for quite some time now. I was able to deliver a pole to my team that really deserved it more than one time over the years," Elliott said. "I felt like I hadn't  played my part.

"It was nice to give my guys one today from that standpoint. I had a fast NAPA Chevy. I had a solid lap in that last round. I think Ryan (Blaney) probably threw me a bone, it looked like he may have messed up. He had a pretty good lap going.

"We have some work to do tomorrow to be really good on Sunday but I think it's doable. The starting spot is great, but it's just a starting spot. The first pit stall is probably more important than that. Hopefully, we'll give ourselves a chance."

Rounding out the top 12 starters are Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski.

Round 2

Blaney set a new track qualifying lap while leading the second round of knockout qualifying.

Blaney’s average lap speed of 132.076 mph topped Elliott (131.389 mph) and Almirola (131.200 mph). Jones and Byron completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Johnson, Bowyer, Logano, Keselowski, Hamlin, Newman and Menard.

Most teams didn’t attempt their qualifying runs until less than four minutes remained in the 10-minute session.

Among those who failed to advance to the final round were Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

“We just got too tight there. Our teammates were fast like always,” Bowman said. “This is a good place for us so I hope we can race strong.”

Larson, who ended up 16th, said he wished he had gone out earlier so perhaps he would have had more time to make a second run in the round.

Several drivers complained about the application of the PJ1 track compound this weekend, saying its inconsistent use makes it difficult for teams to learn what they need to go faster.

Round 1

Blaney, who was fastest in Friday’s practice, led the way in the first 10-minute session of knockout qualifying.

Blaney’s average lap speed of 130.789 mph edged Almirola (130.575 mph) and Johnson (130.557 mph). Bowyer was fourth and Larson completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 were Jones, Stenhouse, Elliott, Hamlin and Bowman.

Most teams waited until there was less than four minutes left in the session before attempting their qualifying runs.

Among those who failed to advance to the second round were Chris Buescher, Daniel Hemric, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace and Ryan Preece.

“The car was loose and we didn’t get a good time,” Kurt Busch, a six-time winner at the track, said. “I did one lap, that’s all I got.”

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 14.568   131.713
2 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 14.606 0.038 131.371
3 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 14.627 0.059 131.182
4 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 14.641 0.073 131.057
5 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 14.681 0.113 130.700
6 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 14.692 0.124 130.602
7 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 14.734 0.166 130.229
8 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 14.741 0.173 130.168
9 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 14.757 0.189 130.026
10 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 14.780 0.212 129.824
11 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 14.801 0.233 129.640
12 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 14.803 0.235 129.622
13 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 14.706 0.138 130.477
14 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 14.706 0.138 130.477
15 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 14.729 0.161 130.274
16 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 14.734 0.166 130.229
17 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 14.780 0.212 129.824
18 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 14.784 0.216 129.789
19 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 14.799 0.231 129.657
20 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 14.809 0.241 129.570
21 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 14.834 0.266 129.351
22 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 14.838 0.270 129.317
23 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 14.854 0.286 129.177
24 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 14.951 0.383 128.339
25 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 14.914 0.346 128.658
26 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 14.926 0.358 128.554
27 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 14.955 0.387 128.305
28 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 14.957 0.389 128.288
29 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 14.987 0.419 128.031
30 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 15.078 0.510 127.258
31 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 15.156 0.588 126.603
32 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 15.268 0.700 125.675
33 51 United States Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 15.280 0.712 125.576
34 52 Bayley Currey  Ford 15.495 0.927 123.833
35 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 15.741 1.173 121.898
36 77 United States Quin Houff  Chevrolet 16.656 2.088 115.202
37 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet    
Darrell Waltrip: "This has been the greatest experience of my life"

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Bristol
Author Jim Utter