Fast Friday For Larson At Bristol

Wins Xfinity Race And Monster Energy Cup Series Pole

Scott Stiller
August 18, 2018 - 11:30 am
No. 42 DC Solar Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson had a great day at the office on Friday winning the Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and winning the pole position for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Larson’s No. 42 DC Solar Camaro held off a hard-charging Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier in overtime to capture the checkered flag for the Xfinity race.

The win was Larson’s first-ever at Bristol, fourth Xfinity Series win of the season (in only six starts) and 12th Xfinity Series win of his career.

“I love this track, it’s my favorite track in NASCAR,” said Larson.  “I wish we could race here every weekend.”

It’s no wonder Larson loves the track.  He’s finished second at the .533-mile high-banked oval 4-times and has 8 top-10 finishes in 9-Xfinity Races.

“It feels really, really cool to win here finally at Bristol,” said Larson.  “I’ve been close so many times.  It’s my best track by far.”

All four times Larson has finished second, he has lost to Kyle Busch, who led for the first 70-laps Friday before he got into the wall after getting a flat right front tire.

“I just got in the corner a little too hot, just got up in the fence a little bit,” Busch said.  “Two or three laps late, it blew out.”

“I wish Kyle Busch wouldn’t have had his trouble, so I could have raced him,” said Larson.

Larson will get a second shot a Busch in Saturday night’s Monster Energy Cup Series Race as well as go for a Xfinity-Cup sweep.

Larson’s lap of 15.015 seconds (127.792 mph) was the fastest in the final round of knockout qualifying earning the California native his first Busch Pole Award at Thunder Valley, third of the season and seventh of his career.

“Our DC Solar Chevy has been really good all day,” said Larson, who swept all three rounds of qualifying.  “I felt a little off in the first practice, but we got it going in the second practice and then it was fast in every round of qualifying.”

Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott (127.665 mph) will start second in the No. 9 Kelly Blue Book Camaro, giving Chevrolet the front row sweep, but the second-generation driver was disappointed.

“I really wanted that first pit box,” said Elliott.  “That makes such a huge difference here.  If there’s any place that it makes a difference, it’s here.”

Kyle Busch, who won the Spring race this year and has won 7-times at Bristol, will start third with a speed of 127.639 mph.  Wood Brothers Racing’s Paul Menard qualified fourth followed by Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron in fifth.

The start time of Saturday night’s race has been moved up to 6:40 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 6:46 p.m. ET due to inclement weather forecast for the area.

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