Rookie Erik Jones won the pole for Saturday’s Cup Series night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, earning the first pole of his Cup career.
The Furniture Row Racing driver grabbed the pole with a speed of 128.082 mph around the short track.
“That’s awesome,” Jones told NBCSN. “It’s cool anytime you get your first pole in a series, but to do it at Bristol, that’s pretty cool. I’m just excited. We’ve got a really good 5-Hour Energy Camry. We had a good week last week and we’ve done a good job keeping the momentum going so far.”
Jones joins Ryan Blaney as a first-time pole winner this season. He is the eighth driver to get his first pole at Bristol.
Jones will be joined on the front row by Kyle Larson (128.057).
Kahne will roll off from his best starting spot of the year in Saturday’s race. His previous best was fourth at Daytona in July.
Kyle Busch, seeking to sweep all three NASCAR races at the short track this week, will start 18th. He was fastest in the first round of qualifying.
Jimmie Johnson, who won at Bristol in April, will start 21st.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 31st in his final Cup start at Bristol Motor Speedway. If Earnhardt were to win Saturday, it would top his 2004 win at Bristol when he started 30th.
Kevin Harvick also failed to make it out of the first round. He will start 29th. The defending winner of the August race, he started 24th last year.