FORT WORTH, Texas – Christopher Bell notched his eighth-career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole during an abbreviated qualifying session Saturday morning at Texas Motor Speedway.
Due to overnight and early-morning rains that dampened the 1.5-mile quad-oval, only two knockout rounds were completed due to time constraints, as opposed to the traditional three-round format.
That was of no consequence to Bell, who sped to a lap of 28.225 seconds (191.320 mph) with his No. 20 Ruud Toyota Supra to secure his second pole of the year and second in a row at Texas.
Bell led 35 laps at the Fort Worth track last fall before crashing out of the race and hopes to better that performance with a victory in Saturday afternoon’s My Bariatric Solutions 300.
“That’s a good one. Texas has been pretty good to us (here in) qualifying lately,” noted Bell. “I knew our Ruud Supra was going to be really fast. I felt like I honestly underdrove the first two runs in the first round, there, so it was just a matter of me putting all the pieces to the puzzle together in the final round.
“Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) tightened the car up a little bit to get me a little more comfortable, and it paid off.”
Bell’s teammate Brandon Jones helped complete the 54th-career Xfinity Series front-row sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing with a lap of 28.277 seconds (190.968 mph) in the No. 19 #DoItForJD Toyota Supra.
Jones hopes to collect his first Xfinity Series victory on Saturday afternoon and believes he has the car to accomplish that mission.
“This gives me a lot of confidence,” said Jones. “This whole year has really been phenomenal. We’ve really been knocking on the door of some top fives and top 10s, and I really feel that if we can keep doing that, we’re going to be close to getting a win sooner rather than later.
“To have one with J.D. Gibbs on the car today would really be special, for us and for Joe (Gibbs).”
Defending series champion Tyler Reddick and Justin Allgaier will share the second row of the grid, with all-time series wins leader Kyle Busch qualifying fifth in his pursuit of a tripleheader sweep.
Jeb Burton, Cole Custer, John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski, Justin Haley and Kaz Grala completed the top 12 and all made it through both rounds of qualifying on Saturday.
Michael Annett was the first driver below the cut line at the end of round one and will start 13th (28.677/188.304) in the No. 1 Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet Camaro.
Annett missed the top 12 by .01 of a second.
“We made our lap really early, and I thought it was decent, but yesterday in the times it was really, really tight,” said Annett. “We sat there in fourth for like eight minutes, and I said to the guys to button it up, because everyone was picking up (on their second runs).
“We sat on the end of pit road and were counting (the time) down, and just miscounted it by how many cars were out there. We screwed up a little bit, but we’ll have a great race car for a couple hours later.”
Other notables in the field include Jeffrey Earnhardt (14th), Noah Gragson (16th) and Ryan Sieg (19th).
The My Bariatric Solutions 300 is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
To view complete qualifying results, advance to the next page.