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Larson edges Elliott for NRA Night Race pole

KEVIN MAYS, [email protected] • Aug 17, 2018 at 8:11 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — It was close. It was very close.

Kyle Larson edged Chase Elliott on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway to win the pole for Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shop NRA Night Race.

Larson’s quickest lap in the final round of qualifying registered 127.792 mph.

Elliott qualified second at 127.665, and Kyle Busch, the most dominant driver in recent history at BMS, was third at 127.639.

“It was fast every round in qualifying,” Larson said.

He called Bristol his favorite track although a win at the half-mile oval continues to elude him.

“We’ve been close so many times. I feel like Kyle (Busch) and I are the two best here, but he always seems to edge me out,” Larson said. “So hopefully this weekend is a little different.

“I feel like I get better and better every time I come to Bristol,” he added. “I feel like our team gets better as well. We’ve just go to keep working hard and be calm and consistent throughout the day and hopefully we put ourselves in a position, line up in the right lanes for the restarts and have good pit stops.”

Paul Menard qualified fourth and William Byron was fifth.

Elliott, who won his first Cup race a couple of weeks ago, said the battle for the pole was a solid one for his team.

“It was close. It wasn’t perfect,” he said. “I thought I got through (turns) 1 and 2 pretty good and maybe heated up a little bit in 3 and 4. But, heck, two-hundredths of a second. I don’t even know how to characterize that.”

Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney.

WAITING GAME

In the second round of qualifying, all 24 cars decided to hold off on getting on the track.

Larson finally made a move to start the qualifying process in the second round when he entered the track with 3:54 remaining in the qualifying period.

Being the first out paid off. Larson finished the second with the fastest lap in the round with a qualifying time of 15.03 seconds.


Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Lineup

Qualifying: Friday; race: Saturday

At Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tenn.

Lap length: 0.526 miles

(Car number in parentheses)

1. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 127.792 mph.

2. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 127.665.

3. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 127.639.

4. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 127.605.

5. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 127.554.

6. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 127.039.

7. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 126.896.

8. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 126.880.

9. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford, 126.863.

10. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 126.762.

11. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 126.253.

12. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 125.988.

13. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 125.922.

14. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 125.856.

15. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 125.691.

16. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 125.675.

17. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 125.650.

18. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 125.592.

19. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 125.461.

20. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 125.404.

21. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 125.363.

22. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 125.117.

23. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 125.068.

24. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 124.347.

25. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 124.897.

26. (95) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 124.387.

27. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 124.315.

28. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 124.210.

29. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 124.066.

30. (72) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 123.937.

31. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 123.682.

32. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 123.261.

33. (96) Jesse Little, Toyota, 122.310.

34. (7) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 121.798.

35. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 121.767.

36. (51) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 121.274.

37. (66) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 120.816.

38. (99) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 120.687.

39. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 120.407.

40. (23) Blake Jones, Toyota, 119.173.

Failed to Qualify

41. (52) J McLeod, Ford, 120.611.

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