NASCAR Pocono qualifying results: William Byron does it again

William Byron ‘s lap was nearly a mile an hour faster then the rest of the field.

William Byron seems to have this qualifying thing down.  The Hendrick Motorsports driver scored the third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup pole of his career, and the season, and his second in a row this latest one coming at Pocono Raceway Saturday.

“This is great,” Byron said. “It’s an impound race, so it’s great to see our speed is there. I’m just really excited.”

The 21-year old put down a lap of 51.875 seconds, 173.494 miles per hour in his Chevrolet Camaro around the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway.  That speed was nearly a mile an hour faster than Kyle Busch in a Toyota who was able to grab second.

“I think we missed our gaps from first practice to second practice a little bit so we were on the splitter,” Busch said. “We got that situation resolved and it felt pretty good.”

 

The recent parity among NASCAR’s three manufacturers continued as Clint Bowyer took third in a Ford.  

Erik Jones in a Toyota and Brad Keselowski in a Ford round out the top five starters for Sunday’s Pocono 400.

Having abandoned group knockout qualifying earlier in the season, NASCAR chose to send three cars out at a time Saturday with each spaced 15 seconds apart.  The only issue came early in the session when JJ Yeley spun but avoided contact with the wall; Chris Buescher who was behind Yeley continued his lap after charging through the tire smoke.  NASCAR allowed Buescher time to stand giving him 24th starting spot, Yeley’s time did not count and he will start last in the field Sunday.

Denny Hamlin will start sixth, followed by last year’s pole winner Kyle Larson in seventh.  Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon fill out the top 10.  Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. rolls off 20th.

 

With NASCAR’s new aero package featuring higher downforce and less horsepower, speeds were down across the board. Byron’s pole speed was three mph less than the pole speed of last year’s pole winner Ryan Blaney (176.897) and far off the track record of 183.438 set by Larson in 2014.

This new package has a familiar feel according to Byron.

“It’s a somewhat similar to the package that we ran in the Truck Series,” said Byron who won the Truck series race at Pocono in 2016.  “I went back and watched that race. They had a good truck for me at KBM and we won that race, so hopefully we can lean on some of those notes that we had there and some of the things that I wanted in the car to translate that into the race this weekend. I do have some confidence going into this racetrack. I feel like it’s a place that feels like home for me.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400 gets the green flag just after 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday with live coverage on FS1 and the Motor Racing Network.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400 gets the green flag just after 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday with live coverage on FS1 and the Motor Racing Network.

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