Watkins Glen Cup qualifying: Chase Elliott wins pole
Chase Elliott has won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International (3 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com).
Elliott’s lap of 70.477 seconds around the 7-turn road course was enough to beat out the other nine pole contenders in the final round of qualifying.
“I feel like we had some work to do there from where we were in practice,” Elliott told NBC Sports. “Felt like there were some parts of the track I wanted to put together better.
“It’s just really hard to hit all of them. It’s so fast. The pace is so high, and this car here - I feel like from what I remember, and how much throttle you’re carrying, it’s just a little bit that carries with you a long way.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson qualified second (70.516 seconds) after a not-ideal morning for his No. 5 team.
Before practice/qualifying, Larson’s car twice failed pre-race inspection. That cost the team their pit selection for Sunday. The team’s car chief, Jesse Saunders, was also ejected.
Nonetheless, it’s the third time in 2022 that Hendrick drivers have swept the front row in qualifying.
Row 2 is set to feature Michael McDowell (70.738 seconds) and William Byron (70.811 seconds). Byron is also the pole sitter for this afternoon’s Xfinity Series race at the Glen.
Behind them in Row 3 will be Tyler Reddick (70.837 seconds) and Xfinity regular A.J. Allmendinger (70.980 seconds).
Among the other notables:
- Kevin Harvick is seeking his third consecutive win in as many races, but could only qualify 24th on Saturday. He’ll start in Row 12 with Bubba Wallace.
- Row 13 includes Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney, who are both racing for the final Cup playoff spot that’s open on points. Blaney holds that 16th-place position on Truex by 26 points.
- 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen is behind them in Row 14, along with Ty Dillon. Raikkonen is making his Cup debut in Trackhouse’s Project 91 entry.
Christopher Bell didn’t take part in qualifying after his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota suffered an apparent engine failure during his group practice session.
At roughly the same time, Ty Gibbs (subbing again in Kurt Busch’s No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota) lost control out of the “bus stop” chicane and spun into a nearby tire barrier.
However, Gibbs’ car sustained minimal damage and he was able to take part in qualifying. He will line up in Row 8 on Sunday.