By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
CONCORD, N.C. – For the second time this season, William Byron has scored a Busch Pole Award at a marquee event.
Byron set the fast time in his No. 24 Liberty Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at his home track. His 29.440 second, 183.424 MPH lap makes him the youngest pole winner in the history of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“This is a dream come true,” Byron admitted. “I grew up in Charlotte and came to this race every year. So, it’s a dream come true to qualify on the pole with Hendrick Motorsports just across the street and all the hard work and everybody at Chevrolet giving us fast race cars. This is pretty cool. I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend.”
Byron was third fastest in the only Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session of the day. This is the second pole position for the Hendrick Motorsports driver, the other coming in the Daytona 500 earlier this season.
Aric Almirola, who was the sixth car on track in the qualifying session after inspection issues at Kansas Speedway, was second on the charts, 0.057 seconds behind Byron with a 29.497 second, 183.069 MPH lap.
“We got off a little bit and just kind of aborted on all the changes we made and went back to how we started practice, where we felt the most confident about what we had for qualifying,” Almirola explained. “I’m proud of all the guys on this Stars and Stripes Smithfield paint scheme on our Ford Mustang.
“It looks awesome and I’d really like to bring the field to the green with it. Hopefully it holds up for the pole, but if not I’m really proud of the effort and that should be a good starting spot for us.”
Defending race winner Kyle Busch qualified third with Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top-five. Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Daniel Hemric, who was fastest in practice, completed the top-10.
Other notables included Kurt Busch in 11th, Chase Elliott 12th, Alex Bowman 13th, Martin Truex Jr 14th, Jimmie Johnson 15th, Erik Jones 16th, Ryan Blaney 19th, Denny Hamlin 20th, Brad Keselowski 21st, and All-Star Race winner Kyle Larson mired deep in the pack in 25th.
NASCAR ejected a crew member from Corey LaJoie’s Go Fas Racing No. 32 Superior Logistics Ford Mustang after it failed technical inspection twice. He qualified 30th.