Ryan Blaney scored his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award Friday at Kansas Speedway.
Blaney raced to the top of the qualifying leaderboard with a lap of 189.600 mph in his No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford to earn his first pole in 64 Cup starts. It was the 117th pole for Wood Brothers Racing and their first since April 2004 when Ricky Rudd led the field to green in the Aaron’s 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway.
“We’ve been really close a few times this year and it’s nice to finally get it done,” said Blaney. “I know it’s only qualifying but it feels really cool to get the first pole because qualifying hasn’t really been my best thing. That says a lot about this whole team. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this 21 team.”
Blaney gave credit to his team and Ford for their improved performance this season.
“It’s just hard work in the off-season,” he explained. “Ford made a big dedication to our team, really all the Ford teams and they stepped it up. I think you can see it this year, not only in qualifying but racing as well. It’s nice to be part of a team that’s so hard-working and dedicated.”
Joey Logano will start the Go Bowling 400 on the outside pole in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford after delivering the second-fastest qualifying lap of 189.540 mph.
Logano was disappointed but said, “Congratulations to Blaney. That is cool. Your first pole is a big deal. It is a big deal for him. I just hate being second. I have to be honest.”
Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. qualified third in his No. 78 Toyota with a speed of 189.201 mph, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in fourth. Kyle Busch, the defending race winner, rounded out the top five in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Eleven drivers missed the opening qualifying session after problems during the pre-qualifying inspection, including Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Timmy Hill, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Corey LaJoie, Carl Long, David Ragan and Reed Sorenson.
Michael McDowell had engine trouble and also missed qualifying.
The Cup Series Go Bowling 400 is set for Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on FS1.
Starting Lineup for the Go Bowling 400: