Byron captures the Bojangles’ Southern 500 pole at Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. – William Byron captured the pole for the 70th Annual Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with a lap of 28.51 seconds (172.487 mph). This was Byron’s first career pole at the 1.366-mile track known as the “Lady in Black’ and the ‘Track to Tough to Tame.’

Byron is also the youngest drive to win the pole at the historic track. It was the fourth of his Cup Series career and will be his 12th top 10 start this season. Byron hit another milestone by becoming only the third driver to win poles at NASCAR’s  three crown jewel races that include the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500, in one season. Bill Elliott and Glen ‘Fireball’ Roberts are the only other drivers to accomplish this feat.

“Our race setup (at Darlington) was good in qualifying trim,” Byron said. “It just happened to work out that way that we focused on qualifying, and I’m sure Chad (Knaus) puts his extra little bit into it too and I kind of put my extra couple cents into it to make sure I hit everything right.

“I felt good driving down here this morning. Only having to make one lap today is pretty easy, so I said, ‘Go on out there and try to not screw up and make a good lap.'”

Brad Keselowski qualified second, Kyle Larson third, Kurt Busch was fourth and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-5 qualifiers.

“I felt good about my lap,” Larson said after qualifying third. “The balance was fine. I could have maybe come to the green a little bit better but I don’t think I would have had a shot at the pole. We had a lot of speed in happy hour so I’m pretty confident going into the race tomorrow. You never know until the race starts, but I felt really good about it.”

Larson’s teammate, Kurt Busch, was happy with his fourth place effort.

“For us, I thought it was a good lap. Everything seemed to match up. We ran a fast lap in practice yesterday, we just didn’t pick up as much as everyone else did. That half of a tenth adds up quick in qualifying. We have a really good race car with the downforce that’s on it and we weren’t too trimmed out, so to speak, for a run at the pole. We were really digging hard to get another pole at the Southern 500. Fourth is a good spot to be and we’ll go from there.”

Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500  is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.

Darlington Raceway
Starting Lineup for the Bojangles’ Southern 500
Provided by NASCAR Statistics
Bojangles’ Southern 500

Pos No Driver Team Time Speed
1 24 William Byron HendrickAtgrd/CtyChvrltThrwbck Chev 28.51 172.487
2 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Ford 28.576 172.088
3 42 Kyle Larson Clover Chevrolet 28.617 171.842
4 1 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 28.63 171.764
5 41 Daniel Suarez Haas Automation Ford 28.704 171.321
6 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Throwback Chevrolet 28.724 171.202
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 28.756 171.011
8 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Throwback Chevrolet 28.766 170.952
9 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Darlington Throwback Toyota 28.787 170.827
10 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Pennzoil Ford 28.801 170.744
11 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Beer/Big Buck Hunter Ford 28.812 170.679
12 37 Chris Buescher Kroger Fast Lane to Flavor Chevrolet 28.829 170.578
13 14 Clint Bowyer Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford 28.831 170.566
14 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 28.841 170.507
15 20 Erik Jones Sport Clips Throwback Toyota 28.848 170.466
16 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Throwback Chevrolet 28.855 170.425
17 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 28.872 170.324
18 8 Daniel Hemric # Caterpillar Chevrolet 28.892 170.206
19 95 Matt DiBenedetto No. 95 IMSA GTO Throwback Toyota 28.905 170.13
20 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger Chevrolet 28.91 170.1
21 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dog’s Most Wanted Ford 28.931 169.977
22 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 28.956 169.83
23 34 Michael McDowell Dockside Logistics Ford 29.017 169.473
24 6 Ryan Newman Oscar Mayer/Velveeta Ford 29.019 169.461
25 0 Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 29.087 169.065
26 38 David Ragan Shriners Hospital for Children Ford 29.097 169.007
27 32 Corey LaJoie Ford 29.103 168.972
28 43 Bubba Wallace Victory Junction 15th Anniversary Chevrolet 29.163 168.625
29 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 29.173 168.567
30 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 29.229 168.244
31 15 Ross Chastain(i) Chevrolet 29.239 168.186
32 36 Matt Tifft # Hilliker Glass/Surface Ford 29.272 167.997
33 18 Kyle Busch Snickers Throwback Toyota 29.385 167.351
34 77 Reed Sorenson Motor Racing Network Chevrolet 29.764 165.22
35 52 JJ Yeley(i) JACOB Companies Chevrolet 29.796 165.042
36 51 BJ McLeod(i) JACOB Companies Chevrolet 30.07 163.538
37 27 * Joe Nemechek(i) Chevrolet 30.26 162.512
38 54 * Garrett Smithley(i) AQRE App Chevrolet 30.568 160.874
39 66 * Joey Gase(i) MBM Motorsports Toyota 30.888 159.207

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Angela Campbell
Angela Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


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