DARLINGTON, S.C. – Kyle Larson will start from the front row for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway.
Larson will line up second for the 400-mile event at the 1.366-mile track after posting a fast lap of 170.236 mph in his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Throwback Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during the final round of knockout qualifying. The reigning Cup Series champion has been the runner-up finisher in his last three Cup runs here. Darlington stands as Larson’s best track with more than one start based on his average finish of 5.5.
William Byron is set to begin the race ninth in the No. 24 Axalta Throwback Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. In the final round of qualifying, he brushed the wall in turn two with the right rear. The 24-year-old, who had a three-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports announced on Thursday, has two top-five finishes in his last three starts at the track that is "Too Tough to Tame."
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Alex Bowman will start 15th in his No. 48 Ally Throwback Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Bowman was the runner-up finisher in the first 2020 race at Darlington. He enters this race with three straight top-10 finishes on the season.
Chase Elliott will take the grid 34th after being unable to qualifying following an incident in the second group practice session. The most recent winner in the Cup Series following Monday’s victory at Dover Motor Speedway had a left rear tire go down and hit the wall in turn three, causing damage to his No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. As a result, Elliott will go to a backup car ahead of Sunday’s 293-lap race.
"Just the left rear going down there about three quarters of the way down the back," Elliott told FOX Sports 1 of the incident. “Recognized it but I couldn’t get slowed down in time.
"Obviously it puts me in a terrible spot missing qualifying. Don’t get a pit pick. Buries you on pit road. Buries you on the track. Kind of sets you up for a long day so hopefully we get lucky with some type of decent pit pick and can climb our way out."
Prior to that, Elliott was the fourth-fastest on the consecutive 10-lap average board. Larson was fifth on that board.
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Due to failing pre-qualifying inspection twice, the No. 5 and No. 48 teams will each lose a crew member (the car chief) and pit selection for Sunday’s race at the South Carolina track.
Hendrick Motorsports has 14 wins at Darlington, which all the most among all teams. Six drivers have accounted for those wins: Jeff Gordon (seven), Jimmie Johnson (three), Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Tim Richmond and Ricky Rudd (each had one).
Tune in on Sunday to watch the culmination of throwback weekend at Darlington at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1 with MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio carrying the event on the radio.