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NASCAR Cup: Clint Bowyer on All-Star pole, Hemric on pole for Open

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 31: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer speaks to the media during testing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on January 31, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

A 118.794-second qualifying attempt at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Friday garnered Clint Bowyer the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race.

Friday’s qualifying featured team efforts, as the 15 drivers already eligible for the All-Star Race each made a three-lap run that included a four-time pit stop. The entire time of the three laps and pit stop was each driver’s qualifying time.

“It’s just so challenging,” Bowyer said. “You think about it, we live and die by pit road speeding penalties coming onto the pit road week in and week out. You’re getting the most out of that line, that yellow line. Do not cross that yellow line speeding. Now, tonight, you cross that yellow line going as fast as you possibly can, speeding as fast as you possibly can, so drastically different. You go up on top of that building and you watch your peers, you watch yourself, you make mistakes, you watch them make mistakes, you learn and put that in the bank and try to make the best of minimizing those mistakes. In a deal like that, it’s so easy to psych yourself out. I walked out there with Austin Dillon and he’s like, ‘Man, I hate this. This is all I’ve thought about all day long.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve been there.’ The more you think about something like that, the more you psych yourself out. I mean, I went over to Bass Pro Shops in between and did some shopping. I got a new fishing rod and got caught up on my outdoor stuff. I’m going on vacation in a couple weeks, got some flip-flops and just kind of chilled out and drove back over here, rolled through Camping World and looked at some motorhomes and daydreamed over there a little bit and then, came back over and put your firesuit on and go out there and just kind of put a lap in.”

Kyle Busch qualified second to join Bowyer on the front row, while Bowyer’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick qualified third and will share row two with Austin Dillon.

Busch went out early in the qualified session and took a provisional pole, but Bowyer went out about halfway through the 15-driver/team session and knocked Busch from the top of the scoring pylon and remained there through the remainder of qualifying.

Qualifying proved problematic for a couple of Team Penske drivers. Joey Logano was one of the first drivers to make his qualifying attempt. After sliding through his pit stall, and as a result, having to back up, he wound up 10th among the 15 drivers. He did fare better, though, than teammate Brad Keselowski. Keselowski wound up 14th after being assessed a five second penalty for a loose lug nut. Keselowski was the only driver penalized.

Below, is the starting grid for the Monster Energy All-Star Race:

Drivers not already locked into the All-Star Race qualified earlier Friday evening for the Monster Energy Open. Unlike the All-Star Cars, open drivers qualified through a more traditional, single-car format, although that format went two rounds with eight of the 24 drivers advancing to round two to contend for the pole.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Daniel Hemric took the pole and will share the front row with Michael McDowell. Hemric’s pole-winning 29.643-second/182.168 mph lap in the second round was the only lap of record of the two-round session over 182 mph. Hemric also was fastest in the opening round with a 29.693-second/181.861 mph lap.

“I feel good about it,” Hemric said. “Obviously, having speed with as short as the stages are, hopefully, we can lock this Bass Pro Shops Camaro with Caterpillar’s help, the ZL1, in as far as the All-Star goes, but we’ve got to have a solid first stage. I’m proud of these guys. I said on the radio this is the first box checked for the weekend. You’ve got to bring the fastest race car you can, and we’ve done that. Hopefully, we can do our jobs tomorrow and do what we need to do to get in the All-Star Race and really have some fun.”

Below, is the complete starting grid for the Monster Energy Open:

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Posted by on May 18, 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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