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Kyle Larson Uses Incredible First-Lap Move to Grab Food City Dirt Race Pole at Bristol

Kyle Larson bristol dirt pole
Kyle Larson will start on the pole for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race, moving from sixth to first in a matter of a lap to secure his spot atop the qualifying results. PC: Jonathan McCoy |

Since the NASCAR Cup Series reignited its legacy of racing on dirt in 2021, Kyle Larson has been the perennial favorite, considering the illustrious record that the Elk Grove, California-native has carved on the dirt.

On Saturday, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion scored the pole for the third annual Food City Dirt Race, as a result of an incredible move in the third heat race, that saw his Chevrolet leap from sixth to first in a single lap.

Video: Kyle Larson Goes From Sixth to Lead on Opening Lap of Heat 3

As a result, Larson was able to score a total of 15 points in his heat race, a mark that no other driver achieved in Saturday’s quartet of qualifying races, scoring the Hendrick Motorsports driver his 16th pole at NASCAR’s top level.

The 30-year-old driver will lead the 37-car field to the green flag in Sunday’s 250-lap contest, while Austin Dillon will start from the outside of the front row after capturing the victory in the first of four heat races.

RELATED: NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race Starting Lineup

Dillon and Larson, who captured the victory in the first and third heat races on Saturday, will both start up front, while the other two heat race winners, Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace, will start from the fifth and sixth rows.

Putting down an amazing result in Saturday’s qualifying events was JJ Yeley, who climbed from ninth to third in the penultimate heat race to score an incredible 14 points, which put him third overall.

JJ Yeley, driving the No. 15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing, put down an incredible performance in the penultimate heat race on Saturday, climbing from ninth to third over the course of the 15-lap heat.

Yeley will start on the inside of the second row for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol, securing the best-ever starting spot for Rick Ware Racing at NASCAR’s top level. The stellar qualifying result is also the first top-five starting spot for Yeley since he won the pole at Michigan in 2007, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Christopher Bell, another driver considered to be a favorite for Sunday’s third Cup Series event on the dirt in Bristol, will start the race from fourth, with Kyle Busch, the race’s defending winner, starting from fifth.

Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Ryan Preece, Ryan Blaney, and William Byron will complete the top-10 starters for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race.

Among the several notable drivers starting outside the top-10, including Joey Logano in 12th, Chase Briscoe in 14th, Ross Chastain in 16th, Alex Bowman in 17th, Jonathan Davenport in 21st, Kevin Harvick in 26th, Martin Truex, Jr. in 27th, Denny Hamlin in 30th, Brad Keselowski in 33rd, and Daniel Suarez in 34th.

Matt Crafton, who was tapped last-minute to fill in for Cody Ware as he attends to personal issues, will start the No. 51 Ford Mustang from 24th on Sunday.

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