Christopher Bell Wins First Cup Pole at Las Vegas

(LAS VEGAS, NV – MAR 5, 2022 – RIS) Christopher Bell topped the field in qualifying for his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole position, taking the No. 1 qualifier spot for the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube. Flanking Bell on the front row is last week's winner, Kyle Larson, with Daytona 500 winning Austin Cindric third in his Penske Ford. Stewart Haas driver Chase Briscoe is fourth, with Chase Elliott fifth at the start of the race Sunday.

Kyle Busch crashed in final practice when the left rear tire on his No. 18 Toyota went flat entering the third turn, sending the car into the wall with damage that sent the team scrambling to configure their backup car for the race.

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – "We had a lot of wind and changing conditions. I definitely feel like I learned a lot for today. I feel like I learned more about the car honestly this week than I did at Fontana – just a bit more of a stable surface and more predictable, so I learned the right things to be able to put down a good lap and get improvement from practice, so I did my part. Four hundred miles tomorrow."

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang – "It's good. Outside of Indy I think this will be the first time I've started in the top five, so it'll be cool to be able to start up front. We've had really good speed all year long. The Clash, I felt like we were one of the two best cars. Daytona is kind of what it is and last week we were really really good, too, so hopefully we can capitalize on that good starting spot and just continue to get those stage points and do those things that are gonna help us as the season goes on. Having a good starting spot is certainly a lot of it and we'll see if we can take advantage of that here tomorrow and just keep this thing up front."

HOW CHALLENGING WAS THE WIND TODAY? "I didn't think it was as bad as Fontana. I definitely noticed it in practice a little more than qualifying. I don't know why it was worse for me in practice, but I thought it's definitely manageable a lot more than Fontana."

KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1, POST-QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

FOR THE PAST THREE WEEKS, YOU'VE BEEN THE FAVORITE TO WIN THE RACE. DOES THAT EVER WEIGH ON YOU?
"I like being the favorite. That means you've done a good job. But I don't pay too much attention to it. I don't really think that matters a whole lot because odds makers don't really know as much as all the teams and drivers do, as far as what cars are stuff are good at each track. But either way, it's good. It's good to qualify on the front row here at Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) and hopefully we can have another solid run; execute a great race and try and fight for another win."

SOME TRACKS THAT YOU GUYS RACE AT, PEOPLE HAVE GREAT STARTING POSITIONS AND THEY ACT LIKE IT'S NOT REALLY SUCH A BIG DEAL BECAUSE OF HOW THE RACE PLAYS OUT. IS THAT A BIGGER DEAL HERE AT LAS VEGAS, TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO START UP FRONT?
"I think it's important at every race track; probably more important than I used to think. Last year, we got to run up front a lot. We had great pit stops and executed races very well to maintain that track position; where I maybe didn't have that in the past. Having well-executed races and maintaining that, you get a sense for how much easier the races go by. You're doing a lot less fighting and putting yourself in hairy situations and stuff like that. Starting up front is just the beginning to that. Like last week, we had to go from the rear and it was a fight to get to about the middle portions of the second stage to where we could then try and maintain that. We had one hiccup on pit road and lost some spots again. But yeah, starting the race up front is, in my opinion, definitely really important."

WHEN YOU CAME IN EARLIER, YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO CATCHUP WITH CHASE (ELLIOTT) LATER. HAS THAT HAPPENED YET?
"Yeah, I got to talk to him and we got to go over what happened from each of our vantage points. It was good to have a conversation and good to hopefully move along from it. It went well; honestly better than I anticipated. He's a great teammate and I'm going to do my part to be a great teammate each and every week. Hopefully we never have any incidents happen again like what happened last week."

DID YOU FIND THAT HE WAS UNDERSTANDING?
"Yeah, I felt like he was. I was encouraged by that. Like I said, he's always been a great teammate. We're both young and we're both going to be fighting for wins together. So, hopefully nothing like that happens again."

BEFORE THE DAYTONA 500, YOU PREDICTED A BIG YEAR FOR TYLER REDDICK AND HE'S LOOKED PRETTY GOOD SO FAR. WHY DID YOU THINK THAT?
"I think it was just a combination of a lot of things. I've grown up with Tyler (Reddick). I've known Tyler since he was like five. I've always seen his talent and I feel like – yes, the testing was a big part of it. But the way the rules packages have gone with a little more horsepower and less downforce, I feel like that's going to suite him very well. And it's proven to be that way, so far. I think it's just a combination of a lot of things. But yeah, he was by far the fast car last week. He was around me a lot in practice today and I felt like he was really good again. I would look to him to be strong again tomorrow. Speaking of odds makers and stuff, I'm sure there are probably going to be a lot of people putting some money on him."

REPEAT WINNERS DON'T HAPPEN OFTEN HERE. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO TAKE TO REPEAT YOUR WIN HERE FROM LAST YEAR?
"Well, I don't know. I feel like I'm not really technically repeating anything because I lost the second time we came to Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) last year. I don't know – it's just like any other race. I think the repeat thing doesn't matter. You have to have a fast car, execute a good race; both you and your team. It's hard to go back-to-back each week, back-to-back each time. I think our team is strong enough to hopefully do it."

DID THE WIND PLAY A FACTOR?
"I don't know. I felt like in (turns) three and four, with the wind blowing that direction, the first run I made it was a little inconsistent for me to get to the bottom. But once I just kind of calmed down my entry and slowed down a little bit more, I was able to hit my marks better. It's just something you have to adjust to as a driver."I was behind Kyle (Busch) when he crashed and that was crazy. It turned around backwards so fast. I don't know if the wind had anything to do with that, something broke, he hit a seam or what. It was wild."

IT WAS A TIRE THAT WENT DOWN. HIS LEFT REAR.
"OK, that makes sense because it turned around backwards so fast and it had me nervous for a little while."

Final Practice, NASCAR Cup Series, Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed, On Lap, Laps, Fastest, Next
1) 
Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 29.804 sec, 181.184 mph, 32, 42, ---.---, ---.---
2) 
Christopher Bell, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota, 29.872, 180.771, 26, 26, -0.068, -0.068
3) 
Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford, 30, 180, 8, 43, -0.196, -0.128
4) 
William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, 30.037, 179.778, 21, 37, -0.233, -0.037
5) 
Joey Logano, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford, 30.207, 178.767, 3, 32, -0.403, -0.17
6) 
Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, 30.222, 178.678, 27, 35, -0.418, -0.015
7) 
Tyler Reddick, No. 8 BetMGM Chevrolet, 30.227, 178.648, 28, 34, -0.423, -0.005
8) 
Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 30.255, 178.483, 5, 37, -0.451, -0.028
9) 
Daniel Hemric(i), No. 16 South Point Chevrolet, 30.272, 178.383, 25, 37, -0.468, -0.017
10) 
Ross Chastain, No. 1 ACM Awards Chevrolet, 30.358, 177.877, 34, 34, -0.554, -0.086
11) 
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 30.396, 177.655, 15, 35, -0.592, -0.038
12) 
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota, 30.498, 177.061, 6, 9, -0.694, -0.102
13) 
Erik Jones, No. 43 FOCUSfactor Chevrolet, 30.507, 177.009, 17, 24, -0.703, -0.009
14) 
Harrison Burton #, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, 30.511, 176.985, 30, 46, -0.707, -0.004
15) 
Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, 30.52, 176.933, 26, 26, -0.716, -0.009
16) 
Cole Custer, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford, 30.537, 176.835, 23, 39, -0.733, -0.017
17) 
Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 30.557, 176.719, 31, 33, -0.753, -0.02
18) 
Austin Cindric #, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 30.56, 176.702, 10, 31, -0.756, -0.003
19) 
Kurt Busch, No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota, 30.576, 176.609, 26, 41, -0.772, -0.016
20) 
Aric Almirola, No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford, 30.582, 176.574, 9, 31, -0.778, -0.006
21) 
Bubba Wallace, No. 23 Dr Pepper Cream Soda Toyota, 30.602, 176.459, 27, 32, -0.798, -0.02
22) 
Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, 30.608, 176.424, 2, 21, -0.804, -0.006
23) 
Greg Biffle, No. *44 Florida A&M University Chevrolet, 30.639, 176.246, 3, 13, -0.835, -0.031
24) 
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Rheem Smurfit Kappa Ford, 30.72, 175.781, 32, 46, -0.916, -0.081
25) 
Chris Buescher, No. 17 Wyndham Rewards Ford, 30.725, 175.753, 23, 30, -0.921, -0.005
26) 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 SunnyD Chevrolet, 30.74, 175.667, 4, 33, -0.936, -0.015
27) 
Austin Dillon, No. 3 BREZTRI Chevrolet, 30.744, 175.644, 30, 34, -0.94, -0.004
28) 
Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Fastenal Ford, 30.817, 175.228, 7, 31, -1.013, -0.073
29) 
Cody Ware, No. 51 Nurtec ODT Ford, 30.883, 174.853, 5, 10, -1.079, -0.066
30) 
Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Schluter Systems Chevrolet, 30.889, 174.82, 17, 26, -1.085, -0.006
31) 
Michael McDowell, No. 34 Stage Front Ford, 30.907, 174.718, 18, 24, -1.103, -0.018
32) 
Todd Gilliland #, No. 38 Frontline Enterprises Inc. Ford, 30.935, 174.56, 24, 43, -1.131, -0.028
33) 
Daniel Suarez, No. 99 CommScope Chevrolet, 31.159, 173.305, 19, 22, -1.355, -0.224
34) 
Ty Dillon, No. 42 Goettl Air Conditioning Chevrolet, 31.293, 172.563, 17, 18, -1.489, -0.134
35) 
Josh Bilicki(i), No. 77 Ziegler Auto Group Chevrolet, 31.586, 170.962, 3, 26, -1.782, -0.293
36) 
Garrett Smithley, No. 15 Trophy Tractor Ford, 32.164, 167.89, 25, 25, -2.36, -0.578
37) 
BJ McLeod, No. 78 Filtertime Ford, 32.255, 167.416, 3, 9, -2.451, -0.091
(i)
 not eligible for points in this series, (#) Rookie

Time Trial Results: 25th Annual Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Track Qualifying Record: Kurt Busch, 27.505 sec, 196.328 mph, 03/06/16

Qualifying Round 1A
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed, Lap #, # Laps, -Fastest, -Next
1) 
Christopher Bell, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota, 29.755, 181.482, 1, 1, 0.000, 0.000
2) 
Tyler Reddick, No. 8 BetMGM Chevrolet, 29.770, 181.391, 1, 1, 0.015, 0.015
3) 
Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 29.802, 181.196, 1, 1, 0.047, 0.032
4) 
Austin Dillon, No. 3 BREZTRI Chevrolet, 29.845, 180.935, 1, 1, 0.090, 0.043
5) 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 SunnyD Chevrolet, 29.925, 180.451, 1, 1, 0.170, 0.080
6) 
William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, 29.996, 180.024, 1, 1, 0.241, 0.071
7) 
Aric Almirola, No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford, 30.214, 178.725, 1, 1, 0.459, 0.218
8) 
Daniel Suarez, No. 99 CommScope Chevrolet, 30.219, 178.696, 1, 1, 0.464, 0.005
9) 
Erik Jones, No. 43 FOCUSfactor Chevrolet, 30.249, 178.518, 1, 1, 0.494, 0.030
10) 
Cole Custer, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford, 30.357, 177.883, 1, 1, 0.602, 0.108
11) 
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Rheem Smurfit Kappa Ford, 30.368, 177.819, 1, 1, 0.613, 0.011
12) 
Chris Buescher, No. 17 Wyndham Rewards Ford, 30.528, 176.887, 1, 1, 0.773, 0.160
13) 
Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, 30.530, 176.875, 1, 1, 0.775, 0.002
14) 
Todd Gilliland #, No. 38 Frontline Enterprises Inc. Ford, 30.686, 175.976, 1, 1, 0.931, 0.156
15) 
Kurt Busch, No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota, 30.713, 175.821, 1, 1, 0.958, 0.027
16) 
Ty Dillon, No. 42 Goettl Air Conditioning Chevrolet, 30.777, 175.456, 1, 1, 1.022, 0.064
17) 
Cody Ware, No. 51 Nurtec ODT Ford, 31.195, 173.105, 1, 1, 1.440, 0.418
18) 
BJ McLeod, No. 78 Filtertime Ford, 32.006, 168.718, 1, 1, 2.251, 0.811
(*)
 Required to qualify on time, (OP)- Top 30 in Owner Points, (PC) Past Champion, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Qualifying Round 1B
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed, Lap #, # Laps, -Fastest, -Next
1) 
Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 29.613, 182.352, 0, 1, 0.000, 0.000
2) 
Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, 29.795, 181.238, 0, 1, 0.182, 0.182
3) 
Austin Cindric #, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 29.799, 181.214, 0, 1, 0.186, 0.004
4) 
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 29.801, 181.202, 0, 1, 0.188, 0.002
5) 
Joey Logano, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford, 29.827, 181.044, 0, 1, 0.214, 0.026
6) 
Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford, 29.843, 180.947, 0, 1, 0.230, 0.016
7) 
Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 29.884, 180.699, 0, 1, 0.271, 0.041
8) 
Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, 29.958, 180.252, 0, 1, 0.345, 0.074
9) 
Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Fastenal Ford, 30.031, 179.814, 0, 1, 0.418, 0.073
10) 
Daniel Hemric(i), No. 16 South Point Chevrolet, 30.100, 179.402, 0, 1, 0.487, 0.069
11) 
Bubba Wallace, No. 23 Dr Pepper Cream Soda Toyota, 30.147, 179.122, 0, 1, 0.534, 0.047
12) 
Ross Chastain, No. 1 ACM Awards Chevrolet, 30.159, 179.051, 0, 1, 0.546, 0.012
13) 
Harrison Burton #, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, 30.196, 178.832, 0, 1, 0.583, 0.037
14) 
Michael McDowell, No. 34 Stage Front Ford, 30.232, 178.619, 0, 1, 0.619, 0.036
15) 
*Greg Biffle, No. 44 Florida A&M University Chevrolet, 30.467, 177.241, 0, 1, 0.854, 0.235
16) 
Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Schluter Systems Chevrolet, 30.628, 176.309, 0, 1, 1.015, 0.161
17) 
Josh Bilicki(i), No. 77 Ziegler Auto Group Chevrolet, 31.402, 171.964, 0, 1, 1.789, 0.774
18) 
Garrett Smithley, No. 15 Trophy Tractor Ford, 32.413, 166.600, 0, 1, 2.800, 1.011
19) 
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
(*)
 Required to qualify on time, (OP)- Top 30 in Owner Points, (PC) Past Champion, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Qualifying Round 2
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed, Lap #, # Laps, -Fastest, -Next
1) Christopher Bell, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota, 29.561, 182.673, 1, 1, 0.000, 0.000
2) Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 29.668, 182.014, 1, 1, 0.107, 0.107
3) Austin Cindric #, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 29.704, 181.794, 1, 1, 0.143, 0.036
4) Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, 29.714, 181.733, 1, 1, 0.153, 0.010
5) Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 29.716, 181.720, 1, 1, 0.155, 0.002
6) Joey Logano, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford, 29.777, 181.348, 1, 1, 0.216, 0.061
7) Tyler Reddick, No. 8 BetMGM Chevrolet, 29.801, 181.202, 1, 1, 0.240, 0.024
8) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 29.802, 181.196, 1, 1, 0.241, 0.001
9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 SunnyD Chevrolet, 30.040, 179.760, 1, 1, 0.479, 0.238
10) Austin Dillon, No. 3 BREZTRI Chevrolet, 30.046, 179.724, 1, 1, 0.485, 0.006
(*) Required to qualify on time, (OP)- Top 30 in Owner Points, (PC) Past Champion, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Starting Line Up, 25th Annual Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed
1) Christopher Bell, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota, 29.561, 182.673
2) Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 29.668, 182.014
3) Austin Cindric #, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 29.704, 181.794
4) Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, 29.714, 181.733
5) Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 29.716, 181.720
6) Joey Logano, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford, 29.777, 181.348
7) Tyler Reddick, No. 8 BetMGM Chevrolet, 29.801, 181.202
8) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 29.802, 181.196
9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 SunnyD Chevrolet, 30.040, 179.760
10) Austin Dillon, No. 3 BREZTRI Chevrolet, 30.046, 179.724
11) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford, 29.843, 180.947
12) Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 29.884, 180.699
13) Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, 29.958, 180.252
14) William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, 29.996, 180.024
15) Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Fastenal Ford, 30.031, 179.814
16) Daniel Hemric(i), No. 16 South Point Chevrolet, 30.100, 179.402
17) Bubba Wallace, No. 23 Dr Pepper Cream Soda Toyota, 30.147, 179.122
18) Ross Chastain, No. 1 ACM Awards Chevrolet, 30.159, 179.051
19) Harrison Burton #, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, 30.196, 178.832
20) Aric Almirola, No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford, 30.214, 178.725
21) Daniel Suarez, No. 99 CommScope Chevrolet, 30.219, 178.696
22) Michael McDowell, No. 34 Stage Front Ford, 30.232, 178.619
23) Erik Jones, No. 43 FOCUSfactor Chevrolet, 30.249, 178.518
24) Cole Custer, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford, 30.357, 177.883
25) Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Rheem Smurfit Kappa Ford, 30.368, 177.819
26) Greg Biffle, No. 44 Florida A&M University Chevrolet, 30.467, 177.241
27) Chris Buescher, No. 17 Wyndham Rewards Ford, 30.528, 176.887
28) Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, 30.530, 176.875
29) Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Schluter Systems Chevrolet, 30.628, 176.309
30) Todd Gilliland #, No. 38 Frontline Enterprises Inc. Ford, 30.686, 175.976
31) Kurt Busch, No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota, 30.713, 175.821
32) Ty Dillon, No. 42 Goettl Air Conditioning Chevrolet, 30.777, 175.456
33) Cody Ware, No. 51 Nurtec ODT Ford, 31.195, 173.105
34) Josh Bilicki(i), No. 77 Ziegler Auto Group Chevrolet, 31.402, 171.964
35) BJ McLeod, No. 78 Filtertime Ford, 32.006, 168.718
36) Garrett Smithley, No. 15 Trophy Tractor Ford, 32.413, 166.600
37) Kyle Busch, No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota, 0.000, 0.000
(*) Required to qualify on time, (OP)- Top 30 in Owner Points, (PC) Past Champion, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

Read More on Cup / XFINITY / Truck news
Volume 2022, Issue 3, Posted 4:38 PM, 03.05.2022