LONG POND, Pa. – Chase Elliott will be one of two Hendrick Motorsports drivers to start inside the top four for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. The 2020 champion posted a fast lap of 169.364 mph in the final round of qualifying.
Teammate Kyle Larson will start directly to his right in the fourth spot thanks to his lap of 169.014 mph.
Coming off four consecutive finishes inside the top two, Elliott is looking to continue his No. 9 team's run of good form. The 26-year-old will lead the quartet of Hendrick Motorsports drivers to the green at the 2.5-mile track. Of the four drivers that posted 10 consecutive laps in practice, he had the best 10-lap average.
"I think we can go and be competitive," Elliott said in a media availability ahead of Saturday's on-track activity. "We were good here once. I think it was my rookie year. We were fast and had an opportunity there. ...Hopefully, we can get back in that direction. I think it is there, we just have to extract it. This has been a difficult place for me."
In 12 starts at Pocono, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has three top-five finishes and seven top-10s.
For Larson, the California native was fifth in the lone practice session with a fast lap of 167.184 mph. While he has yet to taste victory at "The Tricky Triangle," last season’s trip to the facility saw Larson lead coming to the white flag in the first race of the doubleheader weekend before finishing as the runner up in the second race. In 14 starts at Pocono, the 29-year-old has eight top 10s including two second-place showings. Sunday's race will mark Cliff Daniels first race back after a four-race suspension following the team inadvertently losing its right-front tire at Sonoma Raceway last month.
Alex Bowman will line up 17th for the 160-lap main event. The 29-year-old driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 won the first of the two races at the Pennsylvania venue last year and finished in the top 10 in the other. Those results are part of three straight top 10s he has at this facility.
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William Byron qualified 18th but will drop to the rear of the field for Sunday’s race. The 24-year-old had a spin in the Group A practice session that damaged the floor of the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The team will make overnight repairs and line up at the back of the pack for the start of the race.
Byron's 9.13 average finish here is his best at any track in the Cup Series and the best of any driver with more than one start at this venue. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native five top 10s in eight starts.
Denny Hamlin won the pole position for Sunday’s race.
As an organization, Hendrick Motorsports has claimed 18 victories with eight different drivers at Pocono. Bowman is the only driver in the active lineup with a victory here. Larson, Elliott, and Byron will attempt to use this weekend as an opportunity to become the ninth winner at Pocono Raceway for Hendrick Motorsports.
Catch all of tomorrow’s action from “The Tricky Triangle” on USA Network at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will also be available on the NBC Sports App, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90).