Chase Elliott wins Pole at Watkins Glen; Larson second for Hendrick Motorsports front row

Chase Elliott earned his third pole of the season at Watkins Glen International with a lap of 125.147 mph in his No. 9 Chevrolet during the final round of qualifying. It’s his third pole this season and the 12th of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

“Our No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet has been solid,” Elliott said after his qualifying effort. “I feel like we had some work to do there from where we were in practice. I felt like there were a couple parts of the track I want to put together better; it’s just really hard to hit it all. It’s just so fast, the pace is so high. And this car here, I feel like from what I remember and how much throttle you’re carrying, a little bit carries with you a long way.”

Teammate Kyle Larson qualified second fastest (125.078 mph) in the No. 5 Chevrolet to start second for a Hendrick Motorsports front row in Sunday’s Cup Series race.

Front Row Motorsports driver, Michael McDowell, was third quickest (124.685 mp) and the only Ford in a top five dominated by Chevrolet.

“You always feel like you could get a little bit more,” McDowell said. “Pushing really hard and you make mistakes here and there, kind of hanging it out. I got into the bus stop pretty good but didn’t get over that second curb real well and kind of got wide a little bit. I think we had a shot at the pole, just came up a little short.

“But I am really proud of everyone at Front Row. Road courses have been our strength this year and so we knew coming here this was a good chance for us to run up front and try to steal a win and get in the playoffs, success today, qualifying well, good starting spot for tomorrow and good pit selection. All those things are good but when you are that close you want to get a pole.”

William Bryon will start fourth in his HMS entry (124.685 mph) and Tyler Reddick (124.511) rounded out the top five in his Richard Childress Racing Chevy.

Former Formula One champion Kimi Räikkönen made his Cup Series debut and qualified 27th in the No. 91 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet.

“Obviously, I wish there would have been more laps. I felt like there was a lot of potential. I’m just not sure which lines to take and there weren’t enough laps to put everything together. But yeah, it was fun. It’s quite a lot like I expected after the simulator. There’s always a difference; the fine details aren’t shown in the simulator, but at least I knew the track. I needed to be a bit better in a few places, and in some places, I was pretty OK.”

Looking ahead to the race, Räikkönen said, “I think we just have to make sure that we know, more or less, the rules and not make any silly mistakes on that side. We’ll see what we can do with the car. We have a little bit of an idea from where we started, to where we went and maybe somewhere halfway. We’ll try to improve. We improved from the practice session to qualifying, and we’ll try to do the same in the race.”

You can tune into the Cup Series Sunoco Go Bowling at The Glen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Starting Lineup:


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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