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William Byron Smashes COTA Track Record; Earns Fifth Road Course Pole

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen, Getty Images

William Byron has perfected the craft of qualifying in the NASCAR Cup Series at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), picking up his second straight pole position at the 3.41-mile road course located in Austin, Texas.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver was able to maneuver through the 20-turn road course better than anybody else, posting a time of 129.636 seconds (94.696mph) in the final round of qualifying to occupy the top spot on the speed charts.

In addition to his quick time in the final round of qualifying on Saturday, the 2024 Daytona 500 champion was quickest in the opening round, as well, setting a new track record for the NASCAR Cup Series at Circuit of The Americas, clocking in at 129.114 seconds (95.079mph).

Contrary to NASCAR’s other two qualifying sessions this weekend, things were tight at the top of the leaderboard, with second-year driver Ty Gibbs posting the second-fastest time in the final round of qualifying, just 0.015 seconds behind the eventual polesitter.

Tyler Reddick, the defending winner in the NASCAR Cup Series at Circuit of The Americas, continued the strength of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) by posting the third-fastest time on Saturday, with manufacturer teammate Christopher Bell posting the fourth-fastest time.

Rounding out the top-five starters for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix was Corey LaJoie, driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports, who notched a career-high qualifying result for both himself and his organization.

Ross Chastain was sixth quickest in the second round of qualifying, with Martin Truex, Jr., Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Bubba Wallace completing the top-10 as the drivers who were quick enough to advance to the final 10-minute round of qualifying.

Austin Cindric, known as a solid road course racer, posted an 11th-place starting spot on Saturday, the best starting spot by anybody from the Ford Performance camp. It’s the first time since 2015 that Ford hasn’t had an entry starting inside the top-10 on a road course in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Other notables starting outside the top-10 in Sunday’s event include a pair of teammates from Kaulig Racing, Shane Van Gisbergen, and AJ Allmendinger, who qualified 12th and 14th. Kyle Larson (15th), Kyle Busch (16th), Alex Bowman (17th), Daniel Suarez (19th), Kamui Kobayashi (25th), Ryan Blaney (28th), Josh Berry (31st), Joey Logano (35th), and Brad Keselowski (36th) will also have some work to do on Sunday afternoon.

Noah Gragson, driving the No. 10 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, will start 39th after not being able to post a full-speed time in the opening round of qualifying, a result of a myriad of issues throughout the timed session.

During both practice and qualifying, the NASCAR Cup Series field had several off-track excursions, including Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch, Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie, and many others.

Qualifying Results: NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA

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