Race Weekend Central

William Byron Scores Pivotal Cup Pole at Phoenix

Last weekend, I spoke with Jeff Gordon following the race at Martinsville Speedway and he told me that track position will be absolutely crucial in determining the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.

That’s exactly what both of his championship eligible drivers will have Sunday (Nov. 5).

William Byron put the No. 24 Chevrolet that Gordon made famous on pole for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race with an average speed of 132.597 mph. Winning the pole means that not only will he be in front of all three of his fellow championship contenders, but he will have the important advantage of the first pit stall on pit road.

It’s Byron’s fourth pole of the season.

Kyle Larson will be the closest to Byron when the race gets going, as he will roll off fourth. Martin Truex Jr. will start outside pole, with Kevin Harvick and Bubba Wallace making up the rest of the top five.

Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Ross Chastain, Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick round out the top 10. It remains to be seen if Reddick will retain his starting spot, as he made hard contact with the wall during his lap in the final round.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering where Ryan Blaney and Christopher Bell will roll off tomorrow.

Both drivers had underwhelming runs in Group B qualifying and paid for it with their starting position. Bell will start 13th on the grid and Blaney will start on the row behind him in 15th.

Those spots present an uphill climb for both drivers, but the championship has been won from the final spot on the grid before, so they should still be very much in the mix quickly on Sunday.


The NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race from Phoenix Raceway will be broadcast on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET.

About the author

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

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I’d like to see the Cup final event turn into a fiasco like the trucks and listen to the spin the NA$CAR brain trust puts on it, telling us they do what the fans want.


You might get your wish if Hamlin and bubba stay top ten all race. Wonder if Nascar has a talk with Hamlin especially.


Lets have a prop bet for how many laps until the (P)referred cars are at the front. Mine is 40.


I’m not sure it will take Bell and Blaney 40 laps to get to the front. “But” hack is probably going for the win, and so will bubba. I’m not sure of anything but would like for a nice respectful clean racing finish like the Xfinity race. Probably not possible if Hamlin stays near the front.


History tells me I don’t believe NA$CAR will let anyone get near the chosen 4.


I’m laughing because Gibbs replaced Logano and now Joey has twice as many championships as all Gibbs current drivers combined. Hilarious.


Poor reverend gibbs lmao

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