Christopher Bell has clinched the pole for Saturday’s (Sept. 16) Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
This is the first time in NASCAR Cup Series playoffs history that a driver has taken the pole position at every race of the Round of 16. He did so with a 15.109-second lap at a speed of 126.997 mph.
Starting beside Bell is his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who had the fastest qualifying time in the first round. Hamlin ended up qualifying with a speed of 126.930 mph.
Starting third is William Byron. He was the fastest driver in practice group B and ended up the fastest Chevrolet with a speed of 126.345 mph.
Michael McDowell was the fastest Ford, qualifying fourth and securing himself crucial track position in his pursuit of the race win to advance onto the Round of 12.
Martin Truex Jr. landed in the fifth position to round out the top five. The rest of the top 10 is made up of Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace, and Corey LaJoie. With his qualifying effort, LaJoie made it to the second round of qualifying for just the second time ever.
Several notable playoff drivers missed out on the top 10 starting positions, led by Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick, who will start in 11th and 12th, respectively. Kyle Busch will start in 15th, Chris Buescher in 20th, Kevin Harvick in 21st, Ross Chastain in 23rd, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 25th, and Joey Logano will roll off 28th after checking up during his lap.
Kyle Larson, fastest in practice overall, was on track to qualify and got loose on his first lap. This allowed Elliott, who was in the fifth spot at the time, to move on to the second round of qualifying. Meanwhile, Larson will roll off 36th, dead last.
The Bass Pro Shops Night Race, the cutoff race for the Round of 16 of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs will air on USA Network tomorrow, Sept. 16 at 6:35 p.m. ET.
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