Chase Elliott earns Watkins Glen pole over William Byron
Trying for a repeat victory, Chase Elliott will start in the best position possible Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Elliott earned his first career win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series last season at the Glen and will start on the pole for Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen as he attempts his second consecutive win at the road course.
Elliott was fastest in both qualifying sessions, topping the final 10-minute session with an average lap speed of 127.297 mph.
William Byron ended up second (127.144 mph) and Kyle Busch was third (126.976 mph). Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and Kyle Larson completed the top-five.
The pole is Elliott’s third this season and seventh of his career. It’s his first pole at a road course.
“In practice it was so hard to tell but today I felt like throughout practice we were able to have decent pace for a handful of laps and I felt like we needed to work on our long-run pace,” Elliott said.
“Obviously, that’s the biggest question going into tomorrow. It’s really important to have long-run speed. Qualifying well is a big thing here. It’s going to be a hard thing to do to pass those top five or six guys, so to be among that crowd is key.
“Having a nice pit road selection to pit somewhere by yourself and try to eliminate as many mistakes as possible is the goal. We just need to have a really good day.”
Rounding out the top 12 starters are Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Elliott led the way in the first 15-minute session with an average lap speed of 126.720 mph.
Truex was second (126.682 mph) and Kyle Busch was third (126.580 mph). Hamlin was third and Byron rounded out the top-five.
Also advancing to the final round were Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Johnson, Larson, McDowell, Stenhouse and Almirola.
Erik Jones went out early in the session but blew a tire on his first run and his No. 20 Toyota came to a stop on the track.
NASCAR allowed Jones’ team to change a tire and he made another qualifying attempt later in the session and ended up 14th.
Among those who also failed to advance were Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon.
|4||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||1'09.525||0.238||126.861|
|12||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||1'10.550||1.263||125.018|
|30||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||1'11.390||2.103||123.547|
Chase Elliott leads the way in final Cup practice at the Glen
Chase Elliott dominates Stage 1 at Watkins Glen