Kyle Larson races around Texas Motor Speedway. (Chevrolet Photo)

Larson Nabs Third Straight Pole Position

Fresh off logging the second-fastest speed during this week’s Indianapolis 500 Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NTT IndyCar Series, Kyle Larson continued his quick pace with pole position in his Chevrolet Camaro at Texas Motor Speedway.

Larson topped the field for a third straight week in the NASCAR Cup Series as he’ll take the green flag alongside Ty Gibbs on the front row for Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver edged Gibbs by 0.035 seconds.

“Yeah, it was a pretty intense qualifying session,” Larson said. “I felt like the track was really slick in practice, and then having to kind of talk to yourself before you make your lap, knowing that you have to commit even more than you did in practice to go fast is difficult.

“And then yeah, just the lap itself – the first round and second round both, there were moments where you have grip, and then moments where you’re like, ‘Man, I’m going to crash.’ It’s pretty intense from behind the wheel, but always great when you can accomplish a pole and feel like you beat your confidence a little bit.”

Larson’s pole aboard the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was the team’s 250th pole in the Cup Series.

“Yeah, it’s pretty neat. Whenever you can kind of be ‘the guy’, I guess, to know that your name is going to be next to that milestone number – it’s pretty special,” Larson said. “You know, like when I was able to be a part of win 269, like you feel the excitement; the happiness from Rick (Hendrick) and everybody that’s been a part of the organization for a long time.

“And then, even being out there on the opposite side of things – with William (Byron) winning 300 last year here at Texas, I was obviously super bummed because I was dominating the race and lost, but at the same point, I was really happy for the team. Even last week, I’m obviously bummed I didn’t win, but super, super happy for the team. Especially this year, being the 40th anniversary season for Hendrick Motorsports, there’s these milestones that are all kind of coming up right now. It’s just cool to get the 250th Cup Series pole, and I feel like I’m contributing to the record books at Hendrick Motorsports.”

A pair of Toyotas in Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick followed suit in third and fourth, with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe rounding out the top-five qualifiers.

Last week’s winner at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, William Byron, qualified sixth. Team Penske drivers Ryan Blaney (seventh) and Austin Cindric (eighth) followed suit. 

Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10. 

Cup Series champions Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson endured issues in practice, resulting in both drivers failing to qualify due to damaged race cars. Busch starts 35th with Johnson in 37th.