Larson Blisters Chicago Streets For Busch Light Pole


Kyle Larson celebrates with the Busch Light Pole Award in Chicago, Ill., on Saturday. (NASCAR photo)

CHICAGO – After getting nipped by Shane van Gisbergen earlier in the day at the Chicago Street Course, a motivated Kyle Larson struck back during Busch Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series.

On his final flying lap, Larson turned in a time of one minute, 27.836 (90.168 mph) seconds to narrowly best Ty Gibbs for the top spot on the grid.

Larson’s time was a scant .01 seconds better than the sophomore Cup Series young gun, but it was enough to give the 2021 Cup Series champion his 21st career pole and series-leading fifth of the season.

“It wasn’t perfect,” said Larson of his pole-winning effort. “Honestly, it was better than my first lap, but I think I had better grip potential the first lap. I wish I could have had a couple corners back there, but that was still pretty awesome.

“Really awesome to get a pole here in Chicago. We usually have a lot of success with this red Valvoline scheme, so that gives us a lot of confidence, for sure,” Larson added. “I can’t thank my whole team enough. We checked the first box, and hopefully we can keep it going.”

As the fastest driver among the five Group B competitors in the run for the pole, Gibbs joins Larson on the front row Sunday with a time of one minute, 27.846 seconds (87.846 mph).

The remaining drivers, sorted by group, filled in the top-10 starting positions. They were led by Michael McDowell and Tyler Reddick, who will start third and fourth, respectively.

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Defending Grant Park 165 winner Shane van Gisbergen lines up fifth after a somewhat disappointing Cup Series qualifying lap, followed by Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, and Brad Keselowski.

Best in their respective groups, but failing to advance to the final round, were Denny Hamlin (Group B) and John Hunter Nemechek (Group A).

Hamlin and Nemechek will roll off 11th and 12th, respectively, for Sunday’s 75-lap event.

Other notables starting deeper in the field include rookie Carson Hocevar (13th), defending Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney (17th), Chase Elliott (18th), Kyle Busch (19th), and Joey Logano (32nd).

Daytona 500 champion William Byron, a three-time race winner overall this year, qualified 27th but suffered a steering-system failure during qualifying and will have to drop to the rear for the race due to the repairs – which are considered unapproved adjustments.

Broadcast coverage of the Loop 110 is slated for 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, live on NBC, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

The television broadcast will utilize radio-style commentary, with MRN’s Mike Bagley and Dillon Welch joining the regular lineup of Rick Allen, Steve Letarte, and Jeff Burton.

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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.