Ryan Blaney Takes Las Vegas Cup Series Pole

Ryan Blaney
Ralph Garcia/AR1.com

With a respite from strong gusts in the final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series knockout qualifying on Friday at windswept Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney posted the fastest lap of the day to earn the pole position for the third race of the season.

After covering the 1.5-mile distance in 28.200 seconds (191.489 mph)- the fastest lap of the day – Blaney will lead the field to the green flag in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford in Sunday's Pennzoil 400.

Kevin Harvick was second fastest in the money round at 190.248 mph. Kurt Busch, Harvick's Stewart-Haas Racing teammate completed a Ford sweep of the top three starting positions after a lap at 190.067 mph.

"Our team did a great job of getting us ready from round to round," said Blaney, who scored his first pole with Team Penske and the third of his career.

On his first-round lap, Blaney felt a huge gust of wind as he approached Turn 1, but the wind abated during his runs in the second and final rounds.

"I got blown off into Turn 1 in the first round, but then in the next two rounds I didn't really feel it," Blaney said. "The last one, we didn't get a big gust of wind, and I was able to put together a pretty decent lap.

"I thought our Ford was pretty good over three rounds. The second and third rounds were really good. They (the team) made really good changes to our race car and got us where we needed to be. It's nice to know we have some good speed, and now it's about getting it racing well. We'll work on that Saturday. Hopefully we'll be set up for Sunday."

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. will start fourth in the No. 78 Furniture Row racing Toyota, followed by Kyle Larson in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones and Joey Logano, respectively, filled positions six through 10 on the grid.

Kevin Harvick
Ralph Garcia/AR1.com

Harvick said the wind presented issues for the drivers getting into Turn 3.

"I think it really helped us through (Turns) 1 and 2," Harvick said. "I think you usually see a lot more issues into 1 and 2 than what we had today, and I think that's the wind and the direction it was blowing with all the added sideforce that you had.

"You had to be really careful getting into Turn 3, just enough to get the car up the race track with the wind blowing in that direction."

Kurt Busch claimed the 12th and final position in the final round, one spot ahead of his brother, Kyle Busch, who will start 13th. Kurt then improved to third when it counted.

STARTING LINEUP

Pos # Driver Sponsor/Make Lap Speed
1 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Pennzoil Ford 28.2 191.489
2 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 28.384 190.248
3 41 Kurt Busch Haas Ford 28.411 190.067
4 78 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota 28.424 189.98
5 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 28.504 189.447
6 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 28.545 189.175
7 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 28.549 189.148
8 2 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Ford 28.556 189.102
9 20 Erik Jones Sport Clips Toyota 28.614 188.719
10 22 Joey Logano Pennzoil Ford 28.626 188.64
11 14 Clint Bowyer One Cure Ford 28.652 188.469
12 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft 28.656 188.442
13 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Caramel Toyota 28.596 188.838
14 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 28.615 188.712
15 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 28.631 188.607
16 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet 28.656 188.442
17 24 William Byron AXALTA Chevrolet 28.668 188.363
18 19 Daniel Suarez Coca-Cola Toyota 28.744 187.865
19 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 28.747 187.846
20 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet 28.809 187.441
21 95 Kasey Kahne WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 28.83 187.305
22 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna/DC Solar Chevrolet 28.839 187.246
23 38 David Ragan Speedco Ford 28.852 187.162
24 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Ford 28.968 186.413
25 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 28.777 187.65
26 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Chevrolet 28.793 187.546
27 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 28.89 186.916
28 37 Chris Buescher Natural Light Chevrolet 28.98 186.335
29 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 29.013 186.123
30 51 Cole Custer Haas Automation Ford 29.035 185.982
31 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 29.14 185.312
32 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford 29.185 185.027
33 15 Ross Chastain LowT Center Chevrolet 29.441 183.418
34 72 Cole Whitt Chevrolet 29.626 182.272
35 23 Gray Gaulding Earthwater Toyota 30.127 179.241
36 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt VRX Simulators Chevrolet 30.631 176.292
37 55 Joey Gase Nevada Donor Network Chevrolet 31.101 173.628

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