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NASCAR Cup: Clint Bowyer finally claims third-career pole

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 14: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Toco Warranty Ford, poses with the pole award after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Clint Bowyer posted a 30.180-second/178.926 mph lap during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday to claim the pole for Sunday’s South Point Casino 400. Sunday’s pole is the third of Bowyer’s Cup Series career, 12 years after his most recent pole.

“I am as shocked as you are. It is tons of fun,” Bowyer said. “Obviously bragging rights for the guys, first and foremost, and I am extremely proud of the effort. Hey, we sit on the pole but look, my gosh, 1-2-3-4 for Stewart-Haas Racing, and I think that shows a lot about our hard work, dedication and focus on the qualifying lap. Now, that being said, what does that mean for tomorrow? I think we have seen in our sport before that cars that are bad fast on Saturday or on qualifying day sometimes can’t hold it for 400 miles. That is going to be a tall order for tomorrow. Obviously, if those things are that fast they are trimmed out quite a bit for that speed. That being said, you do make adjustments and go back into race trim and we all know clean air is very important on a race track like Las Vegas, and we have that. That is in our favor. I am going to have to be aggressive to hold my teammates off on starts and restarts and Mike (Bugarewicz) has to do a good job of playing the strategy game. We are back to a 1.5-mile track and a tire that is conducive to an untimely caution that breaks up a stage, and you have a decision to make. We are here in Sin City and there is some gambling to do tomorrow that just might win you a race. I think that is a fitting thing for being at this race track in this situations in the playoffs and everything else with it being for all the marbles.”

Bowyer led a Stewart-Haas sweep in qualifying that saw the quartet of SHR drivers claim the top four starting positions. Daniel Suarez qualified second, Kevin Harvick third, and Aric Almirola fourth.

“You have to qualify well, because it puts you in position to start the race on a good note and stay up front and keep some track position, and it really sets you up to score points in stage one,” Almirola said. “That is really what qualifying well does for you. I think that is the biggest thing. With the points as tight as they are, qualifying well and getting some stage points in stage o really helps. So, usually, if you qualify 25th, it is really hard to get stage points in stage one. Qualifying well is important, and I am happy about that and really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. There is so much effort going in week in and week out, and I feel really good about where we are at.”

After the Ford team of SHR swept the front two row starting positions, Chevrolet drivers took the next five positions on the starting grid. Kurt Busch, Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson, qualified fifth through ninth. Five non-playoff drivers qualified in the top-10 — Suarez, Hemric, Dillon, Johnson and 10th-place qualifier Michael McDowell.

Erik Jones was the lowest-qualifying playoff driver in 26th. He was one of four playoff drivers outside the top-20, joined by Joey Logano in 22nd, Ryan Blaney in 23rd and Martin Truex Jr. in 24th.

Below, is the starting grid for Sunday’s South Point Casino 400:

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Posted by on September 15, 2019. 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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