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Larson squeaks out pole for Night Race at BMS

Kevin Mays • Updated Aug 17, 2018 at 8:55 PM

BRISTOL — It was close. It was very close.

Kyle Larson edged out Chase Elliott Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway to win the pole for Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shop NRA Night Race at BMS.

Larson’s quickest lap in the final round of qualifying registered at 127.792 miles per hour.

Elliott finished with a top speed of 127.665 to qualify second, while Kyle Busch, the most dominant driver in recent history at BMS, qualified third with a speed of 127.639.

“It was fast every round in qualifying,” Larson said.

He said Bristol is his favorite track although a win at the half-mile oval continues to elude him.

“We’ve been close so many times,” Larson said. “I feel like Kyle (Busch) and I are the two best here but he always seems to edge me out. So, hopefully this weekend is a little different.”

Larson has been close at BMS, but still enters Saturday looking for his first victory in the night race.

“I feel like I get better and better every time I come to Bristol,” he said. “I feel like our team gets better as well. We’ve just go to keep working hard and be calm and consistent throughout the day and hopefully we put ourselves in a position, lineup in the right lanes for the restarts and have good pit stops.”

Paul Menard qualified fourth for Saturday’s race, while William Byron was fifth.

Elliott, who won his first Cup race a couple of weeks ago, said the battle for the pole was a solid one for his team.

“It was close. It wasn’t perfect,” said Elliott. “I thought I got through one and two pretty good and maybe heated up a little bit in three and four. But heck, two-hundredths of a second. I don’t even know how to characterize that.”

Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney.

WAITING GAME

In the second round of qualifying, all 24 cars decided to hold off on getting on the track.

Larson finally made a move to start the qualifying process in the second round when he entered the track with 3:54 remaining in the qualifying period.

Being the first out paid off for Larson. He finished the second with the fastest lap in the round with a qualifying time of 15.03.

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