Byron Nabs Fifth Pole With Fast ROVAL Lap

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William Byron will lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field to the green flag Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (HHP/Garry Eller Photo)
William Byron will lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field to the green flag Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (HHP/Garry Eller Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. – William Byron improved his odds of advancing to the second round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs by winning the pole Friday for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Byron, who enters Sunday’s playoff cutoff race with a slim two-point edge over teammate Alex Bowman in the battle for the final spot in the second round of the playoffs, secured his fifth pole of the year with an 80.932-second lap in the second round of qualifying around the 2.28-mile circuit.

The guys did a great job with this car and it really takes every corner around this race track to get a pole,” Byron said. “I knew we could qualify top-five, but I really wanted the pole and really kind of went out there and got it.

“So, I’m really proud of this UniFirst team, it’s going to be great to start up front.”

Byron won’t have much of a gap to Bowman, who will join him on the front row for Sunday’s race after turning an 81.026-second lap in his No. 88 Chevrolet.

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano qualified third, followed by seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson and another playoff bubble driver, Clint Bowyer.

Playoff drivers make up the next four positions in the starting order, with Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and defending ROVAL winner Ryan Blaney starting sixth through ninth.

Paul Menard will start 10th, followed by playoff driver Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher.

Other playoff drivers in the starting order include Erik Jones in 15th, Kyle Busch in 17th, Chase Elliott in 19th, Kurt Busch in 23rd, Ryan Newman in 24th and Denny Hamlin in 28th.

Bank of America ROVAL 400 Starting Lineup

1. William Byron
2. Alex Bowman
3. Joey Logano
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Kyle Larson
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Paul Menard
11. Brad Keselowski
12. Chris Buescher
13. Daniel Suarez
14. Ryan Preece
15. Erik Jones
16. Aric Almirola
17. Kyle Busch
18. Matt DiBenedetto
19. Chase Elliott
20. Daniel Hemric
21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
22. Michael McDowell
23. Kurt Busch
24. Ryan Newman
25. Bubba Wallace
26. Corey LaJoie
27. David Ragan
28. Denny Hamlin
29. Ty Dillon
30. Austin Dillon
31. Cody Ware
32. Landon Cassill
33. Timmy Hill
34. Josh Bilicki
35. Garrett Smithley
36. Matt Tifft
37. Ross Chastain
38. Reed Sorenson
39. Joe Nemechek
40. Parker Kligerman