Bell Rockets To Third Kansas Cup Series Pole


Christopher Bell celebrates his NASCAR Cup Series pole at Kansas Speedway Saturday. (Ben Earp/NKP for Toyota Racing photo)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – There’s just something about qualifying at Kansas Speedway that suits Christopher Bell.

Bell sped to his 11th career Busch Light Pole Award Saturday evening ahead of the AdventHealth 400, touring the 1.5-mile Kansas oval in 29.491 seconds (183.107 mph) in the No. 20 Yahoo Toyota Camry XSE.

His lap in the second and final knockout round was the fastest NASCAR Cup Series lap of the day and more than half a tenth quicker than fellow front-row starter Ross Chastain.

The effort by Bell, the 29-year-old standout from Norman, Okla., marked his third Cup Series pole at Kansas. He’s seeking his first win there, where his track-best finish of third came in September of 2022.

“Qualifying on the intermediates has been really, really good for this whole team, ever since the introduction of the Next Gen car,” noted Bell, who has more pole positions since the introduction of the seventh-generation Cup Series race car in 2022.

“I live for those moments where it’s right on the verge of holding your foot down [on the gas pedal],” he continued. “I’m pretty sure I said before qualifying that I was perplexed about the amount of off throttle time that some people had. [The grip level] on that last lap was more [of] what I was expecting.”

Chastain will flank Bell on the starting grid, after a lap of 29.556 seconds (182.704 mph) in the No. 1 Busch Light Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Trackhouse Racing.

Noah Gragson earned a career-best Cup Series starting spot of third (29.597/182.451) in a Stewart-Haas Racing-prepared Ford Mustang Dark Horse, followed by two past Cup Series champions in Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch.

Ty Gibbs, Austin Cindric, Michael McDowell, Chase Elliott, and Chase Briscoe filled out the top 10 drivers who made it through both rounds of knockout qualifying. Briscoe tagged the wall in turn two on his lap.

Joey Logano (Group B) and Chris Buescher (Group A) were the quickest drivers in their respective groups who failed to make the pole round. They will share row six of the grid Sunday, starting 11th and 12th.

Defending event winner Denny Hamlin will roll from 14th, while seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson posted his best qualifying effort since a front-row start in the 2020 Coca-Cola 600, landing 19th after sitting inside the top five for more than half of Group B.

Other notables starting deep in the field include past Kansas winner Bubba Wallace (23rd), defending Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney (26th), Brad Keselowski (30th), and Daytona 500 winner William Byron (36th), who scrubbed the outside wall all the way through turns one and two on his qualifying run.

With 38 cars on the ground, all drivers in attendance made the starting field for Sunday’s race.

Coverage of the AdventHealth 400 is slated for 3 p.m. ET Sunday, live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.