Larson Nips Wallace For Busch Pole At Martinsville


Kyle Larson with the Busch Pole Award at Martinsville Speedway. (HHP/Tim Parks photo)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Kyle Larson edged Bubba Wallace by the slimmest of margins to win the pole for the Cook Out 400 Saturday evening at Martinsville Speedway.

Larson, who was the final driver to take time during the second and final round of Busch Light Pole Qualifying, toured the .526-mile paper clip in 19.718 seconds (96.034 mph) and nipped Wallace’s time by a scant one-thousandth (.001) of a second.

It marked the 18th career NASCAR Cup Series pole for Larson, second of the season, and second in a row, as well as the 50th combined NASCAR national series pole for alumni of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program.

Larson and his ruby-accented No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will lead the field to green Sunday on the 40th anniversary weekend of Hendrick Motorsports’ first Cup Series victory – which came at Martinsville in 1985 courtesy of Geoff Bodine.

“That was honestly a bit unexpected,” admitted Larson after his qualifying run, which earned Hendrick Motorsports its 249th Cup Series pole as an organization. “I knew we’d be good, but the second lap just didn’t feel all that great. It was just enough, though.

“Really cool to get this 40th anniversary Hendrick Motorsports Camaro on the pole and it looks like all four of our team cars are really strong,” Larson added. “Hopefully it’s a good day for the organization on Sunday and we can be [in victory lane] celebrating for Rick and Linda [Hendrick].

“Really excited and now we just have to execute in the race.”

Wallace held the top spot for much of the final round, but ended up second with a lap of 19.719 seconds (96.029 mph) in the No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota Camry XSE for 23XI Racing.

Larson’s teammate Chase Elliott will start third, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe. All three manufacturers were represented in the top five in qualifying.

Joey Logano, Josh Berry, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Alex Bowman closed the top 10 drivers who advanced through both knockout rounds.

Kyle Busch (Group B) and Austin Cindric (Group A) were the fastest drivers in their respective groups who failed to advance to the pole round, and will start 11th and 12th Sunday afternoon.

Notables deeper in the lineup include Ross Chastain (14th), William Byron (18th), Tyler Reddick (19th), Ryan Preece (22nd), and Noah Gragson (26th).

With 37 cars on the property, all drivers in attendance qualified for the starting field.

Sunday’s Cook Out 400 is slated for a 3 p.m. ET green flag, with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Newsletter Banner

The ultimate entertainment platform for race fans and collectors to collect, buy, sell, and trade digital MP4 collectible racing cards. RFD is designed to give all racers in all series a chance to promote their brand and connect with fans in the digital world


For Race Face Digital merchandise please visit our online store!

Don't forget to follow Race Face Digital on social media.

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.