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Qualifying report
NASCAR Cup Chicago

NASCAR Cup Chicago: Larson clears Gibbs by 0.010s to win pole

Kyle Larson, who had been fast all day at the Chicago Street Course, did it again when it mattered most in the final seconds of Saturday’s NASCAR Cup qualifying session.

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

The driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet squeezed in a final hot lap just before the conclusion of the 10-minute final round of qualifying and topped Ty Gibbs with an average lap speed of 90.168 mph to win the pole.

Gibbs had just set the previous top mark of 90.158 mph less than 30 second prior. The two top contenders for Sunday’s race on the 2.2-mile, 12-turn course in the Grant Park area of downtown Chicago were separated by just one hundredth of a second.

The pole is Larson’s fifth of the 2024 season and 21st of his career. Although he has three wins this year, Larson has yet to turn one of his poles into a victory.

“Honestly, it was better than my first lap, but I thought I had better grip on my first lap. That was pretty awesome,” Larson said. “It’s pretty awesome to get a pole here in Chicago.

“I can’t thank my team enough, Chevy, everybody involved. We’ve checked the first box and hopefully we can keep going.”

Michael McDowell will line up third, Tyler Reddick fourth and last year’s winner, three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, will start fifth.

Completing the top-10 are Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and Brad Keselowski.

During one of his runs in the final round, Keselowski spun and tagged the wall with right-rear of his No. 6 RFK Racing Ford.

CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL MPH
1 K. LarsonHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 5 Chevrolet 4

1'27.836

  90.168
2
T. GibbsJOE GIBBS RACING
54 Toyota 3

+0.010

1'27.846

0.010 90.158
3 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 2

+0.026

1'27.862

0.016 90.141
4 T. Reddick23XI RACING 45 Toyota 2

+0.239

1'28.075

0.213 89.923
5 S. van GisbergenKAULIG RACING 16 Chevrolet 2

+0.347

1'28.183

0.108 89.813
6 B. Wallace23XI RACING 23 Toyota 2

+0.484

1'28.320

0.137 89.674
7 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 2

+0.530

1'28.366

0.046 89.627
8 A. BowmanHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 48 Chevrolet 2

+0.923

1'28.759

0.393 89.230
9 D. SuarezTRACKHOUSE RACING 99 Chevrolet 4

+1.038

1'28.874

0.115 89.115
10 B. KeselowskiRFK RACING 6 Ford 1

+17.041

1'44.877

16.003 75.517

Round 1 / Group B

Gibbs topped the second group with the best average lap speed at 90.070 mph.

Bell ended up second fastest in the final minute at 90.037 mph while Reddick was third quick (89.924 mph).

Also moving on to the final round were Wallace and Bowman.

Among those who did not make the final round were Denny Hamlin (last year’s pole winner), reigning series champion Ryan Blaney, Carson Hocevar and Kyle Busch.

As time expired in the session, Harrison Burton locked up his brakes on the No. 21 Ford and hit the tire barriers.

 

Round 1 / Group A

As they had in practice, Larson and van Gisbergen again found themselves fighting it out for the top spot with Larson coming out on top with an average lap speed of 90.496 mph – which turned out to be the quickest lap of the day.

Van Gisbergen was second fastest (90.139 mph) and Keselowski ended up third (90.075 mph).

Also advancing to the final round were McDowell and Suarez.

Among those who failed to move on were Josh Berry, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Corey LaJoie.

Almost seven minutes into the session, LaJoie wrecked in Turn 11 and did significant damage to his No. 7 Chevrolet. He will move to a backup car and will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.

 

In the session’s final minutes, Berry and Buescher each hit the wall in separate incidents, and both suffered significant damage.

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