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Chase Elliott earns Watkins Glen pole over William Byron

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Chase Elliott earns Watkins Glen pole over William Byron
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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.

Round 1 

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.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 1'09.287   127.297
2 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 1'09.370 0.083 127.144
3 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 1'09.462 0.175 126.976
4 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 1'09.525 0.238 126.861
5 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 1'09.570 0.283 126.779
6 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 1'09.599 0.312 126.726
7 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 1'09.834 0.547 126.300
8 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 1'09.931 0.644 126.124
9 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 1'10.040 0.753 125.928
10 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 1'10.041 0.754 125.926
11 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 1'10.229 0.942 125.589
12 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 1'10.550 1.263 125.018
13 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 1'10.215 0.928 125.614
14 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 1'10.230 0.943 125.587
15 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 1'10.273 0.986 125.511
16 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 1'10.276 0.989 125.505
17 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 1'10.278 0.991 125.502
18 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 1'10.308 1.021 125.448
19 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 1'10.340 1.053 125.391
20 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 1'10.352 1.065 125.370
21 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 1'10.374 1.087 125.330
22 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 1'10.467 1.180 125.165
23 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 1'10.785 1.498 124.603
24 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 1'10.811 1.524 124.557
25 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 1'10.858 1.571 124.474
26 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 1'10.866 1.579 124.460
27 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 1'10.933 1.646 124.343
28 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 1'11.065 1.778 124.112
29 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 1'11.270 1.983 123.755
30 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 1'11.390 2.103 123.547
31 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 1'11.557 2.270 123.258
32 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 1'11.772 2.485 122.889
33 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 1'11.868 2.581 122.725
34 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 1'12.364 3.077 121.884
35 51 United States Cody Ware  Chevrolet 1'13.234 3.947 120.436
36 52 United States Josh Bilicki  Chevrolet 1'13.266 3.979 120.383
37 77 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 1'16.271 6.984 115.640
Chase Elliott leads the way in final Cup practice at the Glen

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Watkins Glen
Author Jim Utter