Erik Jones gets first career pole, will start first at Bristol

Jones needs a win to make NASCAR’s playoffs. (Getty)

Erik Jones needs a win over the next three races to make NASCAR’s playoffs. He’s got a good starting spot Saturday night.

Jones qualified first Friday for Saturday night’s race at Bristol. It’s the first pole of his Cup Series career.

He finished a career-best third a week ago at Michigan after running second to Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. for much of the late portion of the race.

Kyle Larson, who told NBC before qualifying began that he always qualifies terribly at Bristol, will start second. Kasey Kahne will start third.

Jones is 130 points behind Matt Kenseth — the man he’s replacing at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018 — for the final spot in the playoffs via points. The gap is more than two full races worth of points, so it’s highly, highly unlikely Jones will be able to make his way in on points. He needs to get a victory at either Bristol, Darlington or Richmond to qualify.

Here’s the entire starting lineup for the race.

1. Erik Jones
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Chase Elliott
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Joey Logano
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Ryan Blaney
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Daniel Suarez
13. Ryan Newman
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15. Chris Buescher
16. Austin Dillon
17. Brad Keselowski
18. Kyle Busch
19. David Ragan
20. Trevor Bayne
21. Jimmie Johnson
22. Ty Dillon
23. AJ Allmendinger
24. Danica Patrick
25. Kurt Busch
26. Michael McDowell
27. Paul Menard
28. Aric Almirola
29. Kevin Harvick
30. JJ Yeley
31. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
32. Cole Whitt
33. Landon Cassill
34. Matt DiBenedetto
35. Corey LaJoie
36. BJ McLeod
37. Gray Gaulding
38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
39. Reed Sorenson
40. Joey Gase


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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!