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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Larson on All-Star Race pole

Kyle Larson (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Larson (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team wasn’t flawless on pit road in the second and final round of qualifying for the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Friday evening, as one of the tire changers slipped. But the team still pulled off a sub-13-second pit stop and the stop and Larson’s three-lap run combined for 112.626 seconds, fastest of any of the five drivers who advanced to the second round, to give Larson the All-Star pole.
“I wasn’t expecting to qualify this good,” Larson said. “I was just hoping to make the final round.”
Kyle Busch qualified second.
“It’s fun; it’s unique,” Busch said of the non-traditional qualifying session. “It’s something different, so it gives an opportunity for variation. Certainly kind of threw us for a little bit of a loop today with switching pit boxes, there, for that switch in between the first session and the second session. Other than that, I thought our lap was really good. We had speed in our race car. I wish we weree a little bit better for a starting position, but we’ll be top-five, so we’ll take it.”
Kevin Harvick qualified third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Kurt Busch was the fifth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fastest of those failing to advance to the final round, qualifying sixth.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Harvick and Kurt Busch were the fastest in round one, with Harvick posting a combined time of 112.256 seconds to lead the way in the opening round. Busch’s team, though, pulled off the fastest pit stop of the round at 12.8 seconds. Harvick’s team was second fastest on pit road in the opening, all-car round.
Busch wound up last of the five advancers in round two. He was on the provisional pole with only Harvick remaining to make his final qualifying run, but Busch’s team left two lug nuts loose, resulting in a 10-second penalty.
Martin Truex Jr.’s team matched Busch’s team on pit road, speed-wise, but was penalized five seconds for a loose lug nut, moving Truex outside the top-five and out of advancement territory.
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports team also was penalized in the second round. It’s five-second penalty was a result of his pit crew going over the wall too soon. The pit portion of the second-round qualifying run for Johnson already was slow before the penalty, because Johnson slid through the pit box and had to back up.
“I tried to make an adjustment in my visual reference point, and I missed it by two stalls deep where I have been practicing the whole time,” Johnson said. “I just was too aggressive on pit road. I needed to back-up my mark a little bit more.”
Johnson wasn’t the first driver to have difficulty getting into the pit box. Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano all overshot the pit box in the opening round. Meanwhile, Ryan Newman struggled to get onto pit road, spinning his car 90 degrees as he approached the pit entrance.
Here’s a look at the starting grid for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
Row 1 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
Row 2 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 3 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 5 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 7 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 8 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 9 — Monster Energy Open stage winner, Open stage winner
Row 10 — Open stage winner, fan vote winner
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auo Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twittere @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on May 20, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,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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