Race Weekend Central

Christopher Bell on Pole, Chevrolet Struggles in Darlington Qualifying

Christopher Bell won his fourth pole of the season at Darlington Raceway, turning a lap of 169.193 mph. Bell will start on the front row alongside Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who ran 169.042 mph.

Toyotas took the top three spots, as Tyler Reddick ran third with a lap of 168.972 mph.

The rest of the top 10 are Fords. Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski fill the fourth and fifth spots.

In the back half of the top 10, Joey Logano qualified sixth, Kevin Harvick sits seventh and Chris Buescher will start eighth. Michael McDowell and Aric Almirola round out the final spots in ninth and 10th, respectively.

See also
Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2023 Cook Out Southern 500

After hitting the wall in practice, Kyle Busch drove the fastest lap for a Chevrolet in qualifying, just barely missing the top 10 in 11th. The lack of Chevy presence in the final round was noticeable, meaning a myriad of playoff drivers will start deep in the field.

Kyle Larson qualified 18th with Bubba Wallace just behind in 19th. Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron will start 23rd.

Playoff drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ross Chastain qualified 25th and 27th, and regular season champion Martin Truex Jr. qualified a dismal 31st after a wiggle early in his qualifying lap.

Other notable drivers include Chase Elliott, racing for an owner’s championship, who set the fastest Hendrick lap to start 13th. In just his second career NASCAR Cup Series start, Carson Hocevar will start 15th.

Cup Starting Lineup for Darlington

The NASCAR Playoffs begin with a crown jewel in the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington on Sunday, Sept. 3. Coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

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Ronald Thornton

Denny screwed up the other week in an interview when he said he would push bubba instead of ty gibbs. Bell and truex will benefit because the owner is blood to ty. Call it a conspiracy theory, but I guarantee you, if that were my grandson, Denny wouldn’t get out of the first round. I have put you on my team for 15+ years and I am the “Boss”. I would make damn sure that denny would have to pay for the next car he wins in. Nepotism rules. I hate it but it rules

Ronald Thornton

I forgot to say. I am not a betting man, but I am willing to bet that denny hamlin will not win the championship

Bill B

Well I hope you are right but I doubt Gibbs will sabotage his own chances of a championship if Denny is the only one of his cars to make it to the final four. Like I said, I hope you’re right.

And what you are describing is a classic conflict of interest in Denny’s position. JGR is paying him to look out for their interests, not 23XI’s. We all know he’s a snake. If this is going to show up anywhere, it will be his contract renewal, not his chances at this year’s championship.


Denny is one ignorant arrogant piece of crap isn’t he. I don’t want him to win a championship OR get his contract renewed. Let him sink.


Time to check for vinyl again!


Ok, has to be said. Is bubba a much better driver now or are the cars of Hamlin bubba and Reddick that much better than other Gibbs cars !! Something fishy


He spun by himself at the first TVTO and advanced his positions the usual way…through attrition of the good cars.

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