FORT WORTH, Texas – Austin Dillon scored his second pole position of the season, qualifying first Friday at Texas Motor Speedway with a 192.301-mph lap.
It’s the first Sprint Cup pole at the 1.5-mile oval for Richard Childress Racing.
“That’s huge, man,” said Dillon, whose No. 3 Chevrolet also won the pole at Auto Club Speedway in March. “I can’t be happier for everyone at RCR and everybody back in the shop. We missed (advancing) in the Chase by just 2 feet. We want to prove we can win a race by the end of this year. This is big for us.”
Dillon was eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs after the Round of 12 by losing a tiebreaker with Denny Hamlin.
Chase for the Sprint Cup contender Joey Logano qualified second, followed by title-eligible Kevin Harvick. Three other Chase contenders made the final round: Matt Kenseth (seventh), Carl Edwards (ninth) and Kurt Busch (10th).
Three Chase contenders failed to advance to the final round.
Denny Hamlin slid the No. 11 Toyota on his lap and qualified 17th. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch will start 24th after suffering a water leak in qualifying, continuing a tough day for the defending series champion.
Busch, who turned the second-fastest lap in the first round, wrecked on his opening lap of practice, necessitating a backup car and transferring the original engine. In an interview with NBCSN’s Marty Snider, crew chief Adam Stevens said an error was made during the switchover.
“I think it is a byproduct of pounding the fence before we even completed a lap in practice,” Stevens said. “In our hurry to change the motor and all the drivetrain afterwards, apparently we didn’t get the lower radiator hose completely clamped on the water neck out of the block and proceeded to dump all the water out of it on pit road after our first run.”
Jimmie Johnson, who already locked into the championship round through his victory at Martinsville Speedway, qualified 19th.