Ryan Blaney

NASCAR News: Blaney wins Cup pole at Bristol

Ryan Blaney, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, claimed his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series pole in Saturday’s qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway, an achievement that stands as the 13th time a Team Penske driver will lead the field to green at the 0.533-mile short track.

The reigning series champion navigated the 0.533-mile short track in 15.356 seconds (124.954 mph) in the second round of qualifying to claim the pole position for Sunday’s Food City 500 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The second row will be comprised of last year’s Night Race winner Denny Hamlin and three-time BMS Cup winner Joey Logano. Chase Elliott will start fifth in his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.

“The track kind of caught everybody by surprise,” said Blaney, who earned his first Busch Light Pole Award since April 2022 at Richmond, his first at Bristol and the 10th of his career,” said Blaney.

“The time fall-off and the grip loss behind the wheel was incredible. It was like ‘Who can not mess up a lap and still put a decent time down?’ Great to get our first pole of the year, and ready to go tomorrow.”

Blaney’s Team Penske Ford was 0.020 seconds faster than the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Mustang of second-place qualifier Josh Berry (124.792 mph). Toyota driver Denny Hamlin was third fastest at 124.178 mph.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano qualified fourth, giving Ford drivers three of the top four starting spots. Chase Elliott was fifth in the fastest Chevrolet.

Joey Logano

Blaney ran the fastest lap of the day in the first round (15.134 second) and opted not to try a second lap in the opening session. That strategy paid off, given the dramatic fall-off most drivers experienced in the money round.

“I think that was a big advantage for us,” said Blaney, who leads the series standings after finishing second, third and fifth in his last three races. “We got the good fortune of going out last in our group, so I could bail after one lap if we were in…

“A lot of teams and drivers, us included, are going to be really scratching our heads tonight, like, ‘What’s the track going to do tomorrow?’”

“Proud of this whole Menards group. Our Ford Mustang was fast all day – really good in Round 1 [of qualifying] and made some adjustments for the second round,” added Blaney.

“The track really caught everybody by surprise, honestly. The time fall-off and grip loss behind the wheel was incredible, it was huge.

“So it was, like, who could not mess up a lap and still put a decent time down? That was fun, it was fun working through it. I wish I could do it over again and try to make our car even better because I think there was still some more out there.

“Proud of everybody at Menards, Ford, Advance Auto Parts, DEX Imaging, Wabash, Wurth and everybody that makes it possible. It’s cool to get our first pole of the year and excited to get going tomorrow.”

Starting Grid

Pos No. Driver Team Time Speed
1 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Dutch Boy Ford 15.356 124.954
2 4 Josh Berry # SunnyD Ford 15.376 124.792
3 11 Denny Hamlin Express Oil Change Toyota 15.452 124.178
4 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 15.506 123.746
5 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 15.615 122.882
6 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors Ford 15.618 122.858
7 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 15.714 122.108
8 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 15.771 121.666
9 23 Bubba Wallace Leidos Toyota 15.778 121.612
10 5 Kyle Larson HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 16.743 114.603
11 19 Martin Truex Jr. Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota 15.335 125.126
12 20 Christopher Bell DEWALT Toyota 15.414 124.484
13 21 Harrison Burton DEX Imaging Ford 15.353 124.979
14 8 Kyle Busch FICO Chevrolet 15.437 124.299
15 43 Erik Jones AdventHealth Toyota 15.359 124.930
16 71 Zane Smith # Focused Health Chevrolet 15.49 123.873
17 6 Brad Keselowski King’s Hawaiian Ford 15.382 124.743
18 7 Corey LaJoie Gainbridge Chevrolet 15.496 123.826
19 54 Ty Gibbs SiriusXM Toyota 15.399 124.605
20 31 Daniel Hemric Cirkul Chevrolet 15.575 123.197
21 2 Austin Cindric Discount Tire Ford 15.422 124.42
22 10 Noah Gragson Black Rifle Coffee/Ranger Boats Ford 15.586 123.110
23 45 Tyler Reddick Monster Energy Toyota 15.468 124.050
24 38 Todd Gilliland CITGARD Ford 15.645 122.646
25 41 Ryan Preece HaasTooling.com Ford 15.474 124.002
26 42 John Hunter Nemechek Dollar Tree Toyota 15.663 122.505
27 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ball Park Buns & Rolls Chevrolet 15.488 123.889
28 99 Daniel Suarez Jockey Outdoors by Luke Bryan Chevrolet 15.756 121.782
29 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 15.505 123.754
30 16 AJ Allmendinger(i) Mountain Dew/Doritos Chevrolet 15.848 121.075
31 3 Austin Dillon BREZTRI Chevrolet 15.534 123.523
32 51 Justin Haley Ohanafy Ford 15.916 120.558
33 15 Kaz Grala # N29 Capital Partners Ford 15.694 122.263
34 17 Chris Buescher BuildSubmarines.com Ford 16.078 119.343
35 77 Carson Hocevar # Gainbridge Cal Ripken Sr. Fdn. Chevrolet 15.846 121.090
36 1 Ross Chastain Busch Light Fishing Chevrolet 16.096 119.210
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