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William Byron Youngest-Ever Coca Cola 600 Pole Winner

by Pete McCole
Thursday, May 23, 2019

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William Byron
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Growing up in Charlotte, William Byron used to sit in the stands and watch drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon duke it out for 600 miles around the famous 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway and imagined himself taking to the track himself someday.

On Thursday night, Byron became the youngest driver to win the pole for NASCAR longest race after claiming the pole position for Sunday's 60th running of the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Byron wheeled the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro to the top spot with a fast lap of 183.424 mph to collect just his second-career pole. It's his sixth top-three start of the season and his third in the last three races.

Aric Almirola was second fastest, running 183.069 mph in the No. 10 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing. Kyle Busch was third with a lap of 182.933 mph, followed by 2017 Coca Cola 600 winner Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick.

For Byron, it's been a season's of firsts for the second-year driver – winning the pole for the season—opening Daytona 500, and now, the youngest pole-winner in race history.

"That's awesome. This is a dream come true," said Byron. "Obviously I grew up in Charlotte and came to this race every year. So, it's a dream come true to qualify on the pole with Hendrick Motorsports just across the street and all the hard work and everybody at Chevrolet giving us fast race cars. This is pretty cool. I can't think of a better way to start the weekend."

It was just 25 years after another second-year Cup Series driver took the No. 24 car to Victory Lane for his first series victory – a driver named Jeff Gordon. On Sunday, Byron will get his shot to lead the field to the green flag for 600 miles, hoping to score his own first-career series victory.

William Byron
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
"You take it one step at a time,' said Byron on looking for that first win. "There are a lot of things we've got to do right to get to that point. But, I think the speed has been really good and the execution of our race last weekend was nearly flawless from a team's perspective and then from my perspective. So, I think we're getting there, for sure. We're close."

Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

RACE LINEUP

Pos # Driver Sponsor/Make Lap Speed
1 24 William Byron Liberty Patriotic Chevrolet 29.44 183.424
2 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 29.497 183.069
3 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Red White & Blue Toyota 29.519 182.933
4 3 Austin Dillon Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Chevrolet 29.546 182.766
5 4 Kevin Harvick Mobil 1 Ford 29.55 182.741
6 41 Daniel Suarez Coca-Cola Ford 29.555 182.71
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 29.56 182.679
8 14 Clint Bowyer Peak Antifreeze & Coolant Ford 29.562 182.667
9 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fastenal Ford 29.563 182.661
10 8 Daniel Hemric # Cessna Chevrolet 29.588 182.506
11 1 Kurt Busch GEARWRENCH Chevrolet 29.603 182.414
12 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 29.614 182.346
13 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Patriotic Chevrolet 29.618 182.322
14 19 Martin Truex Jr Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER /USO Toyota 29.622 182.297
15 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Patriotic Chevrolet 29.649 182.131
16 20 Erik Jones Reser's Main St Bistro Toyota 29.657 182.082
17 21 Paul Menard Menards/Knauf Ford 29.698 181.83
18 6 Ryan Newman Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs Ford 29.736 181.598
19 12 Ryan Blaney DEX Imaging Ford 29.76 181.452
20 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota 29.773 181.372
21 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 29.781 181.324
22 37 Chris Buescher Kroger Thrill of the Grill Chevrolet 29.783 181.311
23 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 29.783 181.311
24 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger Chevrolet 29.839 180.971
25 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 29.842 180.953
26 36 Matt Tifft # Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Ford 29.955 180.27
27 95 Matt DiBenedetto Procore Safety Qualified Toyota 29.978 180.132
28 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Military Chevrolet 29.983 180.102
29 43 Bubba Wallace Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla Chevrolet 30.006 179.964
30 32 Corey LaJoie Superior Logistics Ford 30.108 179.354
31 38 David Ragan Select Blinds Ford 30.254 178.489
32 0 Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 30.379 177.754
33 52 Bayley Currey(i) RWR Ford 30.437 177.416
34 96 Parker Kligerman(i) Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 30.47 177.223
35 15 Ross Chastain(i) Cross Country Adjusting Chevrolet 30.566 176.667
36 53 BJ McLeod(i) Enlisted Nine Fight Company Chevrolet 30.901 174.752
37 27 Reed Sorenson VIPRacingExperience.com Chevrolet 30.945 174.503
38 51 Cody Ware(i) JACOB COMPANIES P-40 WARHAWK Ford 31.812 169.747
39 77 Quin Houff NASCAR Mobile App Chevrolet 31.947 169.03
40 66 Joey Gase(i) MBM Motorsports Toyota 32.059 168.439


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