William Byron becomes youngest pole winner of Coke 600

William Byron is growing accustomed to winning poles in big events in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

William Byron becomes youngest pole winner of Coke 600
 William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Liberty Patriotic
 William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Hendrick Autoguard
 William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Liberty Patriotic
 Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield
 Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield

Byron, who opened the year winning the pole for the Daytona 500, added another Thursday night, grabbing the top starting spot for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Byron, 21, is the youngest driver to start from the pole in the history of the Memorial Day weekend event.

“This is just a dream come true,” Byron said. “I grew up in Charlotte and I came to this race every year and it’s dream come true to qualify on the pole with Hendrick Motorsports just across the street.

“This is pretty cool. I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend.”

Byron’s average lap speed of 183.424 mph topped Aric Almirola (183.069 mph) and Kyle Busch (182.933 mph), who won the pole for this race a year ago.

Austin Dillon was fourth-fastest and Kevin Harvick fifth. Rounding out the top-10 were Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Hemric, who was fastest in Thursday’s lone practice session.

Byron’s crew chief this season, veteran Chad Knaus, has plenty of winning experience at Charlotte with his former driver, Jimmie Johnson.

Asked how he can take advantage of that experience, Byron said, “It’s just the dialogue we have in the hauler. We go back and forth on communication and changes on the car. It’s starting to improve for us and that’s where the speed is coming from.

“Also, the cars are getting faster. This is really exciting.”

Corey LaJoie’s No. 32 Ford twice failed pre-qualifying inspection and he had an engineer ejected from his team for the remainder of the weekend.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 29.440   183.424
2 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 29.497 0.057 183.069
3 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 29.519 0.079 182.933
4 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 29.546 0.106 182.766
5 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 29.550 0.110 182.741
6 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 29.555 0.115 182.710
7 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 29.560 0.120 182.679
8 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 29.562 0.122 182.667
9 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 29.563 0.123 182.661
10 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 29.588 0.148 182.506
11 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 29.603 0.163 182.414
12 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 29.614 0.174 182.346
13 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 29.618 0.178 182.322
14 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 29.622 0.182 182.297
15 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 29.649 0.209 182.131
16 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 29.657 0.217 182.082
17 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 29.698 0.258 181.830
18 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 29.736 0.296 181.598
19 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 29.760 0.320 181.452
20 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 29.773 0.333 181.372
21 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 29.781 0.341 181.324
22 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 29.783 0.343 181.311
23 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 29.783 0.343 181.311
24 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 29.839 0.399 180.971
25 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 29.842 0.402 180.953
26 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 29.955 0.515 180.270
27 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 29.978 0.538 180.132
28 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 29.983 0.543 180.102
29 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 30.006 0.566 179.964
30 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 30.108 0.668 179.354
31 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 30.254 0.814 178.489
32 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 30.379 0.939 177.754
33 52 Bayley Currey  Chevrolet 30.437 0.997 177.416
34 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 30.470 1.030 177.223
35 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 30.566 1.126 176.667
36 53 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 30.901 1.461 174.752
37 27 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 30.945 1.505 174.503
38 51 Cody Ware  Ford 31.812 2.372 169.747
39 77 United States Quin Houff  Chevrolet 31.947 2.507 169.030
40 66 United States Joey Gase  Toyota 32.059 2.619 168.439
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Series NASCAR Cup
Event Charlotte
Author Jim Utter
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