With only two races left in the season, everything is important for the Monster Energy Cup Series teams — especially qualifying. Not only does it setup the drivers’ starting positions for the Sunday race, but it also determines which pit box they select.
Top 12 Starting Order
The top 12 qualifying drivers for Sunday’s race were as follows:
Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex, Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, and Jimmie Johnson.
Blaney Gets Second Career Pole
By a mere hundredth of a second, Wood Brothers No. 12 driver, Ryan Blaney took the pole for Sunday’s race, beating out Denny Hamlin with a time of 26.098 to 26.099. Larson was only two hundredths behind Hamlin at 26.101.
The pole for Blaney, 23, is his second of the year, and second of his career. His first pole was earlier this year at Kansas Speedway.
After the qualifying session, Blaney he didn’t think his final run was going to be enough to qualify first.
Blaney qualified second at the Spring Phoenix race.
Contenders to Third Round
Of the eight remaining contenders, seven of the eighth advanced to the third round. Only Brad Keselowski missed the third round. The No. 2 car of Keselowski will start 16th on Sunday.
Other Notable Drivers
Just missing the third round, Jamie McMurray will start 13th, while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will start 14th for Sunday’s race. No. 41 driver Kurt Busch will start 15th.
First Two Rounds
Kyle Larson was fastest in the first session, while Matt Kenseth was fastest in the second round.
A pair of practices on Saturday will allow the Cup teams to continue to work on Race trim for Sunday’s race. Five Cup drivers are vying for a single spot in the championship race at Homestead-Miami. Those five are Keselowski, Hamlin, Blaney, Johnson, and Elliott.
Kyle Busch, Truex, Jr., and Harvick have already punched their ticket to the championship race next weekend.