Chase Elliott captures Bristol pole position as track record falls

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Chase Elliott won the pole position Friday for the Food City 500 with a 131.713 mph lap at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron (131.371) qualified second, followed by Ryan Blaney (131.371), Erik Jones (131.182) and Denny Hamlin (131.057).

Blaney set a track record with a 132.076-mph lap in the second round of qualifying.

The top four drivers broke the previous qualifying mark (131.407 mph) set Aug. 22, 2014 by Denny Hamlin.

It’s the fifth pole of Elliott’s career and the first of 2019 for the No. 9 Chevrolet driver, whose previous poles had come at the restrictor-plate tracks of Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

“I’ve been wanting a pole outside Daytona and Talladega for quite some time,” said Elliott, who had qualified second six times on unrestricted tracks over his previous 120 starts (including twice at Bristol). “I feel like I haven’t done my part. It was nice to get my guys one today. I had a fast NAPA Chevy.

“We have some work to do. I think it’s doable. Our car has pace. If we get it driving good, we can hopefully give ourselves a chance.”

Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski also advanced to the final round.

Click here for Cup qualifying results Friday at Bristol.