Race Weekend Central

Paul Menard Earns Second Career Pole at Chicagoland

Paul Menard had speed through the entire practice session leading the first round and the round that mattered the most, the last one. Menard was able to earn his second career pole and first pole in 10 years, his last came at Daytona in 2008. Menard edged technical teammate Ryan Blaney for the top spot. The second place start is Blaney’s fourth front row start of 2018.

“My guys did a hell of a job today,” said Menard. “We weren’t very good in practice. We did a mock run that was so loose that we had to abort it and never really got a true mock run. We had speed and all through those rounds we got a little too loose in round two and we adjusted for it. Round three drove like rails. It was good.”

Chase Elliott, who had just returned from the infield care center after a scorching hot XFINITY Series race, qualified third. Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five speeds.

The Ford’s of Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, and Brad Keselowski qualified sixth through eighth. William Byron, the second of two Chevrolet’s, qualified ninth while the Toyota’s of Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 12.

Notable disappointing qualifying results include Kevin Harvick in 13th, Kyle Busch in 18th, Kyle Larson in 20th, and Jimmie Johnson in 22nd.

Polesitter Menard was the best qualifying drivers who had just competed in the XFINITY race. Elliott (3rd), Suarez (11th), Kevin Harvick (13th), Kyle Larson (20th), Ross Chastain (31st), BJ McLeod (37th), and Timmy Hill (39th) are all the drivers who had competed in the XFINITY Race before.

UNOFFICIAL Starting Lineup for Sunday’s Overton’s 400

NASCAR America prerace will go live on NBCSN at Noon/ET tomorrow. The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Countdown to Green goes live on NBCSN at 2 p.m./ET while the race follows at 2:30 pm/E.T.

About the author

His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.

During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.

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