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Elliott earns Bristol Pole

as Blaney sets new track record
Friday, April 5, 2019

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Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott surged ahead in the final round of Busch Pole Qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday to earn the pole for Sunday’s Food City 500 after the he sped his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around the track at 131.713 mph.

It is Elliott’s first pole of the season and the fifth of his career.

Elliott’s mark was faster than the track record for qualifying of 131.668 mph set by Denny Hamlin on Aug. 19, 2016 … which Ryan Blaney had broken one round earlier.

William Byron will join his Hendrick Motorsports teammate on the front row Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) after circling the track in his No. 24 Chevrolet at 131.371 mph.

Blaney set the new track record in the second round of qualifying after surging his No. 12 Ford around the track at 132.076 mph — but fell behind in the final round of qualifying and will start third.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones in the No. 20 (131.057 mph) and Denny Hamlin (130.700 mpg) round out the top five in qualifying.

Seven-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch did not advance to the final round of qualifying, managing a 17th starting spot after speeding his No. 18 JGR Toyota around the track at 129.824 mph. Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez and Martin Truex Jr. were among drivers who were not among the 12 fastest in qualifying.

Kurt Busch, who will start 27th, was among those not advancing from the first round of qualifying. He is the most recent winner at the track, winning at Bristol in August 2018.

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – Pole Winner

HOW BIG OF A DEAL IS IT FOR YOU TO GET THE POLE HERE AT BRISTOL?

“It’s awesome. I’ve really been wanting a pole outside of Daytona and Talladega for a long time now. So, I feel like I was finally able to contribute from my end a little bit more and get a pole that my team certainly deserves. We’ve got a fast NAPA Chevy. I appreciate everybody’s efforts at Hendrick Motorsports and the engine department and the chassis shop and everybody back home. They’ve been working really hard to try to get better and this is a big deal. We have some work to do, I think, for Sunday and we’ll go to work tomorrow and try to get it driving good for 500 laps. That’s a long time.”

THERE WERE SO MANY UNKNOWNS. SOME WERE TIGHT AND OTHERS GOT LOOSE. WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU IN ROUND 3?

“Yeah, we were kind of tight. Every round, I feel like we got tighter. And we were freeing up as each round went, too. So, I actually thought we got a little behind for that last round. I kind of missed my lap. I didn’t feel like I got a perfect one and I was frustrated because I thought it could have been a little bit better. And as tight as it was, I was looking there at one point and a tenth and a half was separating first through 13th or 12th. So, a tight field when I was running around the bottom like that and I’m sure it’s going to change a lot for Sunday. It’s awesome. I’m happy to get a pole. It’s really cool. But it’s just a starting spot. So, we’ve got to go to work for race trim. Actually, I am excited. Take that back I am excited to have that first pit box. That’s a big deal. So, we’ll go to work Sunday.”

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 – Qualified 2nd

YOU ARE ON THE FRONT ROW FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS SEASON

‘It’s awesome. To be one-two for Hendrick Motorsports two weeks in a row; I hate to be on the second end of it, but it’s still fun to start on the front row. I feel like we’re making huge strides in the speed of our cars and it just makes things easier at the track. I feel like (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and I are starting to gel a little more. Thanks to Axalta and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for this race car, and Chevrolet, obviously. This is fun so hopefully we can keep it going on Sunday.”

Lineup

PosNo.DriverTeamTimeSpeed
19Chase ElliottNAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet14.568131.713
224William ByronAxalta Chevrolet14.606131.371
312Ryan BlaneyPPG Ford14.627131.182
420Erik JonesCRAFTSMAN Racing for a Miracle Toyota14.641131.057
511Denny HamlinFedEx Freight Toyota14.681130.700
610Aric AlmirolaSHAZAM /Smithfield Ford14.692130.602
722Joey LoganoAutotrader Ford14.734130.229
814Clint BowyerHaas Automation Ford14.741130.168
921Paul MenardMenards/Sylvania Ford14.757130.026
1048Jimmie JohnsonAlly Chevrolet14.780129.824
116Ryan NewmanWyndham Rewards Ford14.801129.640
122Brad KeselowskiDiscount Tire Ford14.803129.622
134Kevin HarvickHunt Brothers Pizza Ford14.706130.477
1488Alex BowmanNationwide Chevrolet14.706130.477
153Austin DillonSymbicort Chevrolet14.729130.274
1642Kyle LarsonCredit One Bank Chevrolet14.734130.229
1718Kyle BuschSkittles Toyota14.780129.824
1834Michael McDowellLove's Travel Stops Ford14.784129.789
1917Ricky Stenhouse Jr.SunnyD Ford14.799129.657
2041Daniel SuarezHaas Automation Ford14.809129.570
2195Matt DiBenedettoLFR Pro League Toyota14.834129.351
2238David RaganMDS Transport Ford14.838129.317
2319Martin Truex Jr.Auto Owners Insurance Toyota14.854129.177
2413Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet14.951128.339
2537Chris BuescherBush's Beans Chevrolet14.914128.658
268Daniel Hemric #Caterpillar/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet14.926128.554
271Kurt BuschMonster Energy Chevrolet14.955128.305
2843Bubba WallaceBlue-Emu Chevrolet14.957128.288
2936Matt Tifft #Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Ford14.987128.031
3047Ryan Preece #Kroger Chevrolet15.078127.258
3100Landon CassillStarCom Fiber Chevrolet15.156126.603
3232Corey LaJoieDUDE Wipes Ford15.268125.675
3351Gray Gaulding(i)Jacob Companies Ford15.280125.576
3452Bayley Currey #Belmont Classic Cars Chevrolet15.495123.833
3566Timmy Hill(i)Toyota15.741121.898
3677Quin HouffFALCI Adaptve Motorsports Chevrolet16.656115.202
3715Ross Chastain(i)Rim Riderz Chevrolet0.0000.000

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