AUSTIN, Texas – William Byron led the way in qualifying at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) as he grabbed his first pole position of the season.
Byron’s speed of 93.882 mph in the final round of group qualifying gave the driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet his fourth pole on a road course. He is now tied with fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson for the most poles on road courses among active drivers. Byron is also the first driver in Cup Series history to earn a pole at four different road courses: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL (2019), Road America (2021), Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (2021) and COTA (2023).
"We made big improvements with the car overnight," Byron told FS1 after securing the ninth pole of his Cup Series career. "I thought that practice session helped us get a little bit better. Just get the back of the car more settled down. Thanks to Liberty University, Chevrolet and all of our partners, Axalta and Valvoline. It’s really fun to get the first pole of the year. Obviously, we’ve been on a good stretch here of late but tomorrow is what pays. Hopefully, I can be there at the end for my team."
In two previous starts, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has yet to finish outside of the top-12 spots. He will aim to capture the first road course victory of his career on Sunday afternoon. Prior to that, Byron will pilot the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Tune in at 5:00 p.m. ET on FS1 to catch all of the action.
For this weekend, Jordan Taylor is behind the wheel of the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet as the primary driver of the No. 9, Chase Elliott, recovers from a surgery for a fractured tibia. Elliott will be part of the FOX broadcast during stage two of Sunday's race. Taylor currently drives for Corvette Racing and is a part of the Garage 56 program.
On track, Taylor showed speed and was one of three Hendrick Motorsports drivers to earn a spot in the final round of qualifying. He will roll off the grid in the fourth position for his Cup Series debut.
Alex Bowman will take the green flag in the sixth position. Although the Tucson, Arizona, native has yet to find victory on this type of circuit, his three best tracks in terms of average finish are all road courses and he was the runner-up finisher in this race last year. He’ll attempt to put the No. 48 Ally Racing team back in victory lane in Austin.
Kyle Larson will roll off the grid in the 13th position. The driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.comChevrolet has had success at COTA in the past as he finished runner-up in the inaugural event at the facility. He has four road course wins since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2021.
RELATED: Larson finishes second in practice
With two events completed at COTA in Cup Series history, Hendrick Motorsports has earned a single victory with Elliott earning the checkered flag during the inaugural event in Austin. The team will look to earn a second win on Sunday afternoon.
At 26 wins, Hendrick Motorsports has the most all-time triumphs on road courses in Cup Series history. Since their inaugural season in 1984, the organization has won 28.57% of road course events (26 wins in 91 races). The team also tops the board among Cup Series teams on road courses in poles (24), top-five finishes (80), top-10s (138), laps led (2,172) and stage wins (13).
Seven different drivers have accounted for the 26 road course wins in team history and those seven winners are the most for a Cup Series team on road courses. Jeff Gordon leads the way for the team with nine victories (which are also the most among all drivers) followed by Elliott with seven and Larson has four. Tim Richmond had three wins followed by Jimmie Johnson, Geoff Bodine and Ricky Rudd with one victory apiece.
The 68-lap main event will take place on Sunday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m. ET. Catch all of the action with coverage on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).