NASCAR Cup: Kyle Larson fastest in Phoenix qualifying

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AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 06: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 06, 2021 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 06: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 06, 2021 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT


Kyle Larson was the only driver posting a lap over 137 mph in a rare 2021 NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday to claim the pole for Sunday’s season finale, the The NASCAR Cup Series championship. The regular-season champ will begin his quest for a first Cup Series title after a 26.116-second/137.847 mph lap of record in Sunday’s qualifying session.


“It was nice to go out second-to-last and have a benchmark to shoot for, ” Larson said. “Really good to get a pole and help out pit stall selection, so that’s nice.  It’ll be good to go from pit stall number one. Really happy with our Hendrickcars.com Chevy.”

Fellow-title contender and Hendrick Motorsports teammate, reigning series champion Chase Elliott, will join Larson on the front row of Sunday’s starting grid.


HMS claimed the top-three starting positions for the Phoenix finale with William Byron qualifying third.


Ryan Blaney and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five in qualifying.


One more title contender, Denny Hamlin, qualified in the top-10 in the sixth position. The remaining championship candidate, Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., qualified 12th.