NASCAR Cup: Austin Dillon on pole at Texas
Austin Dillon wins the pole for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 4, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Austin Dillon posted a 28.081-second/192.301 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday to claim the pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was Dillon’s second pole of the season and third of his career, but his first at TMS.
“Man, that’s huge,” Dillon said. “Great job to our Bad Boy Realtree Chevy, everybody at Dow for supporting us and getting us this far. It is our second pole of the year, and I can’t be happier for RCR and everybody back at the shop; a lot of hard work and effort goes on. We missed (advancing to the round of eight of) the Chase by just two feet. We want to prove that we can win a race by the end of this year. This is big for us. I thought I messed up the lap, truthfully. I got a lot of good speed off of two, but turn three I turned in and missed my corner, but it worked out.”
Despite posting the fastest, overall, lap of the three-round qualifying session — a 27.797-second-194.266 mph lap in the opening round — Joey Logano had to settle for second for the second-consecutive week.
“That is really frustrating,” Logano said. “Last week, we missed it (the pole) by eight thousandths, and this week, by six thousandths. Second stings the most. That is okay. Our team is tough, and we showed speed in qualifying the last couple of weeks. I think this AAA Fusion has a lot of speed in race trim, too.”
Logano led three Chasers in the top-five in qualifying, as Kevin Harvick Brad Keselowski claimed the third and fourth spots on the starting grid. Harvick was fastest in the second round of qualifying, posting a 27.826-second/194.063 mph lap in that round.
Kyle Larson, who was eliminated from the Chase in the first round, qualified fifth.
Three additional Chasers qualified in the top-10 — Matt Kenseth in seventh, Carl Edwards ninth and Kurt Busch 10th.
The other two Chasers, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch qualified 17th and 24th.
As a result of a water leak, Busch failed to post a lap time in the second round of qualifying.
“I think it is a by-product of pounding the fence before we even completed a lap in practice,” Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens, said. “In our hurry to change the motor and all the drivetrain afterwards, apparently, we didn’t get the lower radiator hose completely clamped on the water neck out of the block and proceeded to dump all the water out of it on pit road after our first run. We’re going to start 24th and get after them from there.”
Here’s the complete starting grid for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:
Row 1 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 2 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 3 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 5 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 7 — Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Alex Bowman (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 11 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
Row 13 — Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 14 — Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford), Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford)
Row 16 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)
Row 18 — Ryan Ellis (No. 93 Toyota), David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 19 — Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 55 Toyota)
Row 20 — Joey Gase (No. 32 Ford), Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet)