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NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney on pole at Texas

during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Ryan Blaney claimed his third pole of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season Friday when he posted a 26.932-second/200.505 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500.

“It felt really fast,” Blaney said of his pole-winning lap. “That is what you get with this nighttime qualifying — high speeds. That is really what you get. That is cool doing under the lights qualifying. Speeds pick up and it has been cool here today. We have had a really good Ford all day, and it is nice to back it up in qualifying. It doesn’t mean a lot if you are fastest in practice and blow it in qualifying. It was cool to be solid all day. Really big thanks to this whole group for giving me a really great race car and I am excited to see how it is in race trim tomorrow,”

Ford claimed the top-five starting positions, three by the Stewart-Haas Racing trio of Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola. Bowyer will start next to Blaney on the front row, while Harvick and Almirola line up in row two.

“That felt fast,” Bowyer said. “After you come off of Martinsville, that little short track and head out here to this place, it just feels crazy fast. I am really proud of my guys. Our Rush Truck Centers Ford was good all day long. I am proud of all the guys and proud of the shop for bringing four fast hot rods again. For the better part of the day, we were four of the best six or seven cars. That is the speed part. Now, we have to make them live and be good on the long run. If we can do that, maybe we can keep ourselves in this thing.”

Brad Keselowski qualified fifth. Toyota driver Denny Hamlin was the highest-qualifying non-Ford driver in sixth and the only non-Ford driver in the top-eight. Kurt Busch and Logano were seventh and eighth.

Logano, along with Bowyer, surpassed the 200 mph mark in the last round of qualifying, but Logano was fast to cross the 200 mph barrier, do so in the second round with a 26.964-second/200.267 mph.

Blaney was fastest in the opening round, but his pole-winning lap in the final round was the fastest, overall, of the qualifying session. Harvick was second to Blaney in round one and Logano in round two before winding up third.

William Byron was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet driver in ninth. He was the only Chevrolet driver to advance to the final round of qualifying.

“It was good,” Byron said. “We haven’t had a qualifying effort like that in a little bit, so it’s been good to get that, and hopefully, that translates to the race pretty good. So it was fun.”
 
All eight playoff drivers advanced to round two of qualifying, but Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott didn’t get past the second round. Truex wound up 13th and Elliott 16th.

“I missed the bottom on turn one and turn two a little a bit,” Truex Jr. said. “It’s generally harder to go a little bit faster on hot tires. I got a little loose on turn three in my last lap there. If I didn’t mess that up, I probably would have been in. It’s a sensitive track, really fast. For whatever reason, we’ve been off qualifying since they redid this place. I haven’t quite figured out what I need for qualifying. In our race trim, we’ve been really good here. We’ll see. We’ll work harder on it tomorrow and see on Sunday.”

Forty-four drivers made qualifying attempts. Timmy Hill was the only driver who failed to make the race.

Below, is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:

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Posted by on November 3, 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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