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Kyle Larson Earns Inaugural Pole for Cup Series at Iowa Speedway

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner, Getty Images

Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports will lead the field to green in Sunday’s Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway — the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event at the 0.875-mile short track in Newton, Iowa.

Driving the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, Larson was the final driver to hit the racetrack in Saturday’s time trial session, posting a time of 23.084 seconds (136.458mph) to earn his 20th pole at NASCAR’s top level.

“It was challenging for sure, but it wasn’t as challenging as I was expecting. I get to watch everyone, so everyone looked really loose, really on edge, and I just tried to be under that edge a little,” said Larson. “My lap felt fairly smooth, a bit edgy, but not as bad as I expected. It helps going out last. It helps to be able to watch everyone. To talk with Cliff [Daniels] before I go out is beneficial.”

“Happy to get the pole. Was hoping for rain, and didn’t know how we would qualify, so glad it worked out.”

The format for Saturday’s qualifying was slightly altered, with the final round being axed after rain forced the session to start nearly an hour late. Instead, NASCAR elected to take the top five from each group and place them (in order) inside the top-10, with alternating positions between Group A and B from 11th to 36th.

RESULTS: NASCAR Cup Series Iowa Corn 350 Starting Lineup

Ryan Blaney will start alongside Larson on the front row in Sunday’s event, with Josh Berry, William Byron, and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top-five starters.

The track conditions played a major role in deciding the top five, as much of Group B was able to put quicker laps down in qualifying. Chase Briscoe was the fastest in Group A and therefore will qualify in sixth place, despite running the 16th-best lap.

Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott, and Christopher Bell completed the top-10.

Other notables that failed to qualify inside the top-10 for Sunday’s inaugural event at Iowa Speedway include Joey Logano (11th), Denny Hamlin (12th), Chris Buescher (15th), Ross Chastain (17th), Austin Cindric (21st), Ty Gibbs (27th), Martin Truex Jr. (31st), and Alex Bowman (33rd).

Noah Gragson was quickest in Friday’s 50-minute practice session from Iowa Speedway and posted a time good enough for a 22nd-place starting spot.

Christopher Bell (10th) and Austin Cindric (21st) will be credited with their respective starting spots but will have to drop to the rear of the field after reverting to backup cars after wrecks in Friday’s practice session.

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