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Ryan Blaney Scores Food City 500 Pole; 10th Career Cup Series Pole

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

With three top-five finishes in the opening four races of the 2024 season, defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney has been off to an electric start this season, which continued Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Driving the No. 12 Menards Ford Mustang, the 30-year-old driver scored his 10th career pole at NASCAR’s top level, posting a scorching lap in the final round of an odd qualifying session from Bristol Motor Speedway.

With a lap time of 15.356 seconds (124.954mph) in the final round of qualifying, the 10-time NASCAR Cup Series winner put his Team Penske entry on pole, marking the fourth time in five races this season the organization has had a driver start on the front row — the other three belonging to Joey Logano.

The polesitter for Sunday’s 500-lap contest wasn’t necessarily a surprise, considering his past relationship with Bristol Motor Speedway, but the driver starting on the outside of the front row was.

NASCAR Cup Series rookie Josh Berry posted a quick time in his No. 4 SunnyD Ford Mustang, just two-hundredths of a second slower than Blaney, to record his best-ever start at NASCAR’s top level – which was previously a 14th-place effort at Atlanta.

Denny Hamlin qualified in third place, while Blaney’s teammate Joey Logano was fourth-quickest in the final round. Chase Elliott rounded out the top five, posting a fast lap in his NAPA-sponsored Chevrolet Camaro.

Chase Briscoe, Michael McDowell, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Larson completed the top-10 in time trials. Larson looked to have speed in his Hendrick Motorsports entry, but had a major slip on his first timed lap, killing his momentum for both laps.

Throughout the session, numerous drivers struggled to keep their cars on the bottom of the racetrack, as the half-mile short track was treacherous during qualifying, making the second lap in a qualifying run insanely hard to complete without issue.

That impacted the qualifying runs of several drivers, including Chris Buescher, Carson Hocevar, and Ross Chastain, all of whom had major slips and posted the 34th, 35th, and 36th-fastest times in qualifying.

There were no incidents in qualifying, though, with all drivers somehow making bizarre saves to avoid further damage.

Qualifying Results: NCS Food City 500 at Bristol

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