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Bristol Cup dirt heats: Cole Custer wins pole for Sunday

From hosting the NFL, college football, and an ultimate game of tag, to its number of nicknames, to Dale Earnhardt's run-in with Terry Labonte, to the "Snow-Bowl Derby", there's nothing quite like Bristol.

Cole Custer has won pole position for Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway after four, 15-lap qualifying heats to determine the starting lineup.

MORE: Bristol Cup dirt race starting lineup

In Saturday’s heats, drivers earned points per their finishing positions – 10 points for first place, down to one point for 10th place.

Drivers also earned passing points – one point per each car passed from their original starting position. Drivers that lost positions received zero passing points. The drivers’ points totals determined the starting positions for Sunday.

Custer earned the most points with 16 to claim his first career Cup pole. He finished second in Heat 1 to earn nine points, plus seven more points from positions gained (started ninth in heat).

Christopher Bell will start on the outside front row. He earned 14 points. He got 10 points from winning Heat 2, plus four more points from positions gained (started fifth in heat).

The Food City Dirt Race is scheduled to go green Sunday at 7:14 p.m. ET. Coverage is on Fox.


Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick held on in a six-lap run to the finish and won the first heat. Cole Custer started last (ninth) but finished second to establish himself as a pole contender early.

Ryan Blaney brought out the caution after spinning in Turn 2 on Lap 9. Only green flag laps counted toward the 15-lap distance in the heats.

On the restart at Lap 10, Ross Chastain lined up alongside Reddick at the front but failed to get going and stacked the inside lane up. Chastain’s troubles continued later with a spin on the final lap that dropped him to ninth.

Finishing Positions:
1. Tyler Reddick
2. Cole Custer
3. Alex Bowman
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Todd Gilliland
6. Ryan Blaney
7. Corey LaJoie
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Ross Chastain


Christopher Bell took advantage of a mistake by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to grab the lead on Lap 10 and go on to win the second heat.

The heat was slowed by a Daniel Suarez spin on Lap 4. Following the restart on Lap 5, Busch and Bell battled for the lead over several laps before Busch finally won out. Then, on Lap 10, an apparent bobble in Turn 2 opened the door for Bell to take command.

Finishing Positions:
1. Christopher Bell
2. Kyle Busch
3. Chase Briscoe
4. Michael McDowell
5. Erik Jones
6. Justin Allgaier
7. Daniel Suarez
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Josh Williams


Justin Haley cleared Joey Logano for the lead shortly after the green flag and went on to win the third heat. Austin Dillon recovered from an early moment with Denny Hamlin to finish fifth after a hard-fought race with Bubba Wallace.

Finishing Positions:
1. Justin Haley
2. Joey Logano
3. Chris Buescher
4. Kurt Busch
5. Austin Dillon
6. Bubba Wallace
7. J.J. Yeley
8. Noah Gragson
9. Denny Hamlin


Ty Dillon led all 15 laps in the fourth and final heat, but had to absorb late pressure from Chase Elliott before taking the checkered flag. Reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson finished third after starting sixth.

Finishing Positions:
1. Ty Dillon
2. Chase Elliott
3. Kyle Larson
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5. William Byron
6. Austin Cindric
7. Harrison Burton
8. Aric Almirola
9. Cody Ware