NASCAR Cup qualifying: Here’s who won his 3rd pole (and a neat toy) at Kansas Speedway

·3 min read
AP photo

NASCAR Cup driver Christopher Bell added to his Kansas Speedway pedal-car collection on Saturday.

Bell posted a fastest lap of 179.575 mph and claimed the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Advent Health 400, receiving the pedal-car toy that the track gives to the top qualifier.

It’s his third miniature vehicle he’s won at Kansas Speedway, joining the pedal-cars from sitting on the pole in the 2017 trucks race and 2019 Xfinity series race.

“I forgot about the Xfinity pole,” Bell said with a smile. “I knew I won the pole in the truck series. I don’t know where my other two pedal-cars are, but I’m going to have to find them and add this one to the collection, for sure.”

The pole on Saturday was the third of the season for Bell in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota — he qualified first at Las Vegas and Talladega. But Bell, 27, has yet to win this season, though he is 10th in the points on the strength of six Top 10 finishes in 12 starts.

He was fourth at Dover and sixth at Darlington in the last two weeks.

“We have everything we need to win the races,” said Bell, originally from Norman, Okla. “Our cars are super fast, I have been driving pretty well throughout the last few weeks, specifically. We just have to maintain our track position. We really, really struggled on pit road. That’s one of the reasons we have not contended for wins.

“If we can get our pit road struggles under control, we’re going to be contending for sure.”

Bell will be joined in the front row by Tyler Reddick, who went 178.855 mph in the No. 8 Richard Childress Chevrolet. Defending series champion Kyle Larson, who won last fall’s race at Kansas, will start third in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after a 178.772 mph lap, and rookie Austin Cindric, this year’s Daytona 500 winner, was fourth in the Team Penske No 2, qualifying at 178.484.

Reddick, who earned a pedal-car for winning the pole for the 2017 trucks race, would’ve loved to have claimed another.

“My son, Beau, loves the thing,” Riddick said. “He is always trying to get in it and reach the pedals. He isn’t quite big enough to touch the pedals in it yet, but he always likes sitting it and playing around with it. It’s sitting in his room, so if I get another one …. hopefully me and him can maybe race each other in them.”

The pedal-car trophy was reinstated by Kansas Speedway after a two-year absence. It was put on hold during the pandemic when a performance formula was used instead of on-track qualifying to determine the starting lineup.

Starting from the pole can be a significant position at Kansas. Seven of the 32 Cup races at the track have been won from the pole, including Larson last fall.

Other previous winners from the pole were Joe Nemechek in 2004; Jimmie Johnson in 2008; Matt Kenseth in spring 2013; Kevin Harvick, fall 2013; Martin Truex Jr., fall 2017; and Harvick, spring 2018. Jeff Gordon won the inaugural race in 2001 from the second spot on the front row as did Joey Logano in 2020.

Bell, who won the 2017 Xfinity race at Kansas, finished fourth from the pole in the 2017 trucks race and 12th from the pole in the 2019 Xfinity race. His best Cup result in four starts at Kansas was eighth last fall.

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