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NASCAR Cup: Chevrolet sweeps front row in Bristol qualifying

BRISTOL, TN – AUGUST 17: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 17, 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Larson got around Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in 15.015 seconds (127.792 mph) Friday in the third of three rounds of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying to claim the pole for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. Larson’s latest pole is his third of the 2018 season, but the first of his Cup Series career at Bristol.

“The pole is important here at a short track. With this pit road selection, having the first pit stall is huge,” Larson said. “You know, it is still a long race, 500 laps here; the pole is important, but it doesn’t mean everything. We had a fast car in practice and race trim, I felt like, in second practice, so hopefully, that means we will be good tomorrow. The track will still change a lot, tighten up quite a bit, so we’ve just got to be prepared for that to make the right adjustments. I hope we put ourselves in position to get a win, finally, here at Bristol.”

Chevrolet swept the front row in qualifying, with Chase Elliott taking second to start alongside Larson.

“Not near as nice as it would have been to be starting first and have that first pit stall,” Elliott said. “Nowadays, with the close timing lines, this is one of the very few places, I feel like, having that first pit box is a massive advantage like it is here for 500 laps. I wish we could have gotten it, but we didn’t, so go get it from second.”

Larson was tops in all three rounds of qualifying. His 14.997-second/127.946 lap in the opening round was the fastest lap, overall, of the three-round session and was the only sub-15-second lap turned in during qualifying. His lap of record in the second round clocked in at 15.034 seconds/127.631 mph.

Elliott also was second to Larson in round one.

“Our DC Solar Chevy has been really good all day,” Larson said. “I felt a little off in first practice, but we got it going good in the second practice and, then, was fast every round in qualifying. It’s my favorite track. I have yet to get a win here. We’ve been close so many times. I feel like Kyle (Busch) and I are the two best here, but he always seems to edge me out. Hopefully, this weekend is a little different.”

Three Chevrolets qualified in the top-five, with Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron in fifth. All three manufacturers were represented in the top-five, though, with Toyota driver Kyle Busch in third and Ford driver Paul Menard in fourth.

“There’s some fast guys we’re around, so we’ll just have to take it as we go and see what happens,” Busch said. “Certainly wish we would have qualified on the pole for a better pit selection, but we’ll take what we can get.”

Menard was second to Larson in the second round of qualifying.

“We had a really solid day all around,” Menard said. “We made a couple changes in happy hour (final practice) that kind of woke the car up and didn’t really concentrate on qualifying much, so we weren’t really sure what to expect, but the car drove really good. Turns one and two was shaded, so there was a lot more grip versus three and four in the sun, so I think everybody was kind of struggling with the balance there, but it felt like we nailed it pretty close. It sucks being so close to P1 – two one-hundredths I think it was, but overall, I’m proud of my guys, and it was a good day.”

While Chevrolet took the front row and most of the spots inside the top-five, Ford had the most representative in the final round of qualifying, advancing seven cars to the round of 12 — Menard in 4th, Kevin Harvick sixth, Aric Almirola eighth, Kurt Busch ninth, Ryan Blaney 10th, Brad Keselowski 11th and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 12th.

Below, is the complete starting grid for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway:

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Posted by on August 18, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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