NASCAR Cup: Kyle Larson on pole at Martinsville after qualifying cancelled
Kyle Larson on track at Martinsville Speedway during practice for the STP 500 on March 31, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
On Friday, Kyle Larson claimed his second-straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole, but he garnered his pole for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway by putting his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the lead of the owner points standings after the first five races of the season, as rain at Martinsville resulted in the cancellation of qualifying. As a result of the cancellation, the starting grid was set, primarily, by the owner points standings.
“I think it will be a good advantage, there, to start on the pole,” Larson said after qualifying was cancelled. “Hopefully, get the jump and kind of take care of my stuff early. That number one pit stall will be big here. It seems like the number one pit stall here is as good as it gets for any race track we go to. Excited about that.”
Chase Elliott will start alongside Larson on the front row, in the second position.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle here, and we’ll definitely take it,” Elliott said. “I think, more than anything, have a nice pit pick, and hopefully, we can get our car dialed in tomorrow to try to stay there. We definitely got a big help with that today.”
Larson was third-fastest in practice, behind the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Elliott, though, was outside the top-20 in Friday’s lone practice session.
Thirty-eight cars were on the entry list for Martinsville, so Sunday’s starting grid will be two cars shy of a full race field.
Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway:
Row 1 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 3 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 5 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
Row 6 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 7 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford)
Row 8 — Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 9 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 10 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 13 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Matt DiBenedetoo (No. 32 Ford)
Row 15 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 18 — Corey LaJoie (No. 83 Toyota), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota), Timmy Hill (No. 51 Chevrolet)