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Edition

Australia
Qualifying report
NASCAR Cup Bristol II

Bell beats Hamlin for Bristol Cup pole in all-JGR front row

Christopher Bell hopes the third time is the charm as he completed a sweep of the pole position in all three first round NASCAR Cup playoff races.

Bell went out early in the final round of Friday’s qualifying session at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and his average lap speed of 126.997 mph was enough to hold off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin (126.930 mph), who was the last on the track.

So far, Bell has been unable to translate his playoff poles into wins.

He ended up 23rd at Darlington and finished eighth last weekend at Kansas. His only win this season came at the Bristol Dirt Race in April. The pole is Bell’s fifth this season and ninth of his career.

“All the credit goes back to the guys that are putting these cars together,” Bell said. “I tell you, what, that is probably one of the tightest qualifying margins ever.

“This is my favorite race of the year – the Bristol Night Race. I got great starting spot and 500 long laps tomorrow.”

Asked if he has a car that has the necessary long-run speed to contend for a win, Bell said, “Absolutely, I do every week. It’s just a matter of execution. The key is putting the whole race together. We’ve been doing a bad job of that. Whenever we do put it all together, good things are going to come.”

William Byron ended up third, Michael McDowell fourth and Martin Truex Jr. – who is in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs in the first round – was fifth.

Completing the top-10 starting lineup are Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie.

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesC. BELLJoe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 2 15.109   126.997
2 United StatesD. HAMLINJoe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 2 +0.008 0.008 126.930
3 United StatesW. BYRONHendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 2 +0.078 0.070 126.345
4 United StatesM. MCDOWELLFront Row Motorsports 34 Ford 2 +0.093 0.015 126.220
5 United StatesM. TRUEX JRJoe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 2 +0.101 0.008 126.154
6 United StatesB. KESELOWSKIRFK Racing 6 Ford 2 +0.124 0.023 125.963
7 United StatesC. ELLIOTTHendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 2 +0.130 0.006 125.914
8
T. GIBBSJoe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 2 +0.130 0.000 125.914
9 United StatesB. WALLACE23XI Racing 23 Toyota 2 +0.132 0.002 125.897
10 United StatesC. LAJOIESpire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 2 +0.165 0.033 125.625

Round 1 / Group A

Bell topped the first group with an average lap speed of 126.980 mph.

Gibbs was second quick (126.570 mph) and LaJoie was third (125.782 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Wallace and Elliott.

Among those who failed to move on was Kyle Larson, who was fastest in Friday’s practice. Larson got loose on his initial qualifying lap in Turns 3 and 4 and ended up slowest of everyone in the first group.

 

Also missing the cut were Kevin Harvick, Ross Chastain and Joey Logano.

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesC. BELLJoe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 2 15.111   126.980
2
T. GIBBSJoe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 2 +0.049 0.049 126.570
3 United StatesC. LAJOIESpire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 2 +0.144 0.095 125.782
4 United StatesB. WALLACE23XI Racing 23 Toyota 2 +0.194 0.050 125.371
5 United StatesC. ELLIOTTHendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 2 +0.227 0.033 125.101
6 United StatesJ. HALEYKaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 2 +0.232 0.005 125.060
7 United StatesC. BUESCHERRFK Racing 17 Ford 2 +0.234 0.002 125.044
8 United StatesK. HARVICKStewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 2 +0.243 0.009 124.971
9 United StatesA. ALLMENDINGERKaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 2 +0.251 0.008 124.906
10 United StatesR. CHASTAINTrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 2 +0.254 0.003 124.881
11 United StatesA. ALMIROLAStewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 2 +0.261 0.007 124.824
12 United StatesJ. LOGANOTeam Penske 22 Ford 2 +0.305 0.044 124.468
13 United StatesA. CINDRICTeam Penske 2 Ford 2 +0.316 0.011 124.379
14 United StatesE. JONESLegacy Motor Club 43 Chevrolet 2 +0.383 0.067 123.841
15 United StatesT. DILLONSpire Motorsports 77 Chevrolet 2 +0.427 0.044 123.491
16 United StatesB. MCLEODLive Fast Motorsports 78 Chevrolet 2 +0.499 0.072 122.921
17 United StatesJ. YELEYRick Ware Racing 15 Ford 2 +0.682 0.183 121.497
18 United StatesK. LARSONHendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 2 +0.699 0.017 121.366

Round 1 / Group B

Hamlin, one of the last to attempt a qualifying lap, ended up fastest in Group B with an average lap speed of 127.393 mph.

Keselowski was second fastest (127.022 mph) and Byron was third (127.014 mph).

Also advancing to the final round were McDowell and Truex.

“Our car was really good on the long run we just didn’t know what we’d have for a two-lap fire-off,” McDowell said. “We have to turn this qualifying speed into a finish. A win tomorrow would be great.”

Among those who failed to move on were Ryan Blaney, last week’s winner Tyler Reddick, Alex Bowman and Kyle Busch.

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesD. HAMLINJoe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 2 15.062   127.393
2 United StatesB. KESELOWSKIRFK Racing 6 Ford 2 +0.044 0.044 127.022
3 United StatesW. BYRONHendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 2 +0.045 0.001 127.014
4 United StatesM. MCDOWELLFront Row Motorsports 34 Ford 2 +0.127 0.082 126.328
5 United StatesM. TRUEX JRJoe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 2 +0.158 0.031 126.071
6 United StatesR. BLANEYTeam Penske 12 Ford 2 +0.168 0.010 125.988
7 United StatesT. REDDICK23XI Racing 45 Toyota 2 +0.183 0.015 125.864
8 United StatesA. BOWMANHendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 2 +0.190 0.007 125.806
9 United StatesC. BRISCOEStewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 2 +0.202 0.012 125.708
10 United StatesK. BUSCHRichard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 2 +0.220 0.018 125.559
11
C. HOCEVARLegacy Motor Club
42 Chevrolet 2 +0.231 0.011 125.469
12 United StatesR. PREECEStewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 2 +0.244 0.013 125.363
13 United StatesA. DILLONRichard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 2 +0.250 0.006 125.313
14 MexicoD. SUAREZTrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 2 +0.305 0.055 124.865
15 United StatesR. STENHOUSE JRJTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 2 +0.310 0.005 124.824
16 United StatesR. NEWMANRick Ware Racing 51 Ford 2 +0.352 0.042 124.484
17 United StatesT. GILLILANDFront Row Motorsports 38 Ford 2 +0.371 0.019 124.331
18 United StatesH. BURTONWood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 2 +0.476 0.105 123.491

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