NASCAR Cup: William Byron on fifth pole of season

0
75
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 27: William Byron, driver of the #24 UniFirst Chevrolet, poses for photos after winning the pole for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 27, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 27: William Byron, driver of the #24 UniFirst Chevrolet, poses for photos after winning the pole for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 27, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Charlotte, N.C., native William Byron claimed his fifth pole of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season Friday when he posted an 80.932-second/103.198 mph lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway’s “Roval” to start first in Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400. It’s also Byron’s second pole of the year at CMS, as he also claimed the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 on the facility’s oval in May.

“I think it’s just having the ability to be close with the car and just tune in on the little details,” Byron said. “We don’t really panic a lot when it comes to qualifying most of the time. If we’re close, we just try to fine tune. I feel like we do a good job in that space of fine tuning, whether it’s me or the car. We just kind of fine tune the little things, and that equals more speed. We knew we had to pick up from practice to probably get the pole, and we were able to do that. I think we just put the little details together well.”

Alex Bowman qualified second to give Hendrick Motorsports a front-row sweep, and Jimmie Johnson was fourth, the highest-qualifying non-playoff driver, to give HMS three cars in the first two rows of the starting grid. Joey Logano qualified third.

“That run wasn’t the best,” Bowman said. “I know it could have been better. William just did a great job, there, getting through the corners. It’s definitely a positive to be starting on the front row, and we just have to focus on getting stage points on Sunday. Very proud of this Nationwide #REALtirement team and the hard work they put in today.”

With Sunday’s race running on Charlotte’s road course, NASCAR reverted to group elimination-style qualifying Friday. Byron also was fastest in the opening round with a 80.902-second/103.237 mph lap.

Johnson was one of three non-playoff drivers to advance to the second and final 12-driver round of qualifying. Paul Menard qualified 10th and Chris Buescher was 12th.

Denny Hamlin was the slowest among the 16 playoff drivers in qualifying, winding up 28th. He’ll drop to the back for the start of Sunday’s race, as he’ll be in a backup car as a result of a crash in Friday’s only practice session. Parker Kligerman also crash in practice Friday and went to a backup car.

Although three of the four Hendrick cars qualified in the top-five, the fourth HMS driver, Chase Elliott, was among the playoff drivers whose Friday ended in the first round of qualifying. Elliott wound up 19th after running off course in one of the chicanes.

Below, is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway: COMING SOON

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autoracingdailyonline).