KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The strong qualifying efforts at Kansas Speedway continue for Christopher Bell.
As the only car to run in the 29-second bracket, Bell will start on pole for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
“No, I didn’t (realize my lap time),” Bell shared with media. “Ross (Chastain) ran a 29.9 in round one, so I knew the track had it out there and whenever I looked at the data in between the rounds, I felt like I could at least get better than I was in round one. The guys did an excellent job making adjustments and getting the balance a little closer and I was able to drive a little harder, and 29.9 was the answer.”
Saturday’s run marked his eighth career pole, his second at the 1.5-mile oval. With the NextGen car in the NASCAR Cup Series making its way into the top level of stock car racing last year, Bell has not qualified worse than 12th.
“I love this race track,” he continued. “I love qualifying here too. It’s so much fun to be able to drive as hard as you can, put it right up against the wall and see what she’s got. Fun day, and I’m excited for another fun day tomorrow.”
To his outside will be fellow dirt track racer Kyle Larson (30.029 seconds). Row 2 will hold another Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports grouping of Martin Truex Jr. (30.207 seconds) and Chase Elliott (30.227 seconds). Tyler Reddick (30.253 seconds) rounded out the top five with his Toyota Camry.
I love qualifying here. It’s so much fun to be able to drive as hard as you can, put it right up against the wall and see what she’s got.
Ross Chastain (30.282 seconds) also ran a sub-30 second lap time in the first round of qualifying but could not match that in the final round. Michael McDowell (30.291 seconds) was the only Ford Mustang to advance into the final round of qualifying and will start seventh. McDowell is last in the Playoff standings, 19 points below the cutoff.
Austin Dillon, the highest non-Playoff contender, will start eighth after running his final lap in 30.303 seconds. William Byron (30.375 seconds) won the pole earlier this year at Kansas and will start ninth on Sunday. Last year’s winner, Bubba Wallace (30.436 seconds) completes the top 10 starting grid.
Other Playoff drivers will start deeper in the field. Joey Logano (11th), Brad Keselowski (12th), Chris Buescher (13th), Denny Hamlin (14th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (16th), Ryan Blaney (17th), and Kevin Harvick (20th) will all start in the top half of the field.
Kyle Busch blew a tire in practice and did not qualify. His Richard Childress Racing team have yet to determine if they will go to a backup car. Time trials will credit him with a 35th-place start.
Carson Hocevar will continue his Cup career starting from the 21st position for Legacy Motor Club. Cole Custer will make his sixth start in the 2023 season from 27th.
Green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 10 (USA/MRN/SiriusXM).