Christopher Bell Earns First Pole In Vegas

Christopher Bell banked a lucky hot lap that was good enough to earn him the pole for the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas. It’s his first pole in over seventy career Cup starts, although most of those didn’t have qualifying under the pandemic. 

“I felt really good. I’m really proud of this 20 group. I feel really good about our DeWalt Camry,” he said. “Haven’t had the results to show our speed yet but I think we’ve got a shot at it this week.”

Austin Cindric followed up last week’s pole at Fontana with a third-place qualifying run. He said: “I definitely feel like I learned a lot for today.  I feel like I learned more about the car honestly this week than I did at Fontana – just a bit more of a stable surface and more predictable, so I learned the right things to be able to put down a good lap and get improvement from practice, so I did my part.”  

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 05: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Rheem Smurfit Kappa Ford, Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, and Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 BetMGM Chevrolet, drive during practice for NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Chase Briscoe earned his best oval start in his career. “It’ll be cool to be able to start up front,” he said. “We’ve had really good speed all year long. Having a good starting spot is certainly a lot of it and we’ll see if we can take advantage of that here tomorrow and just keep this thing up front.”

Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and Ryan Blaney topped the charts in practice. Practice was largely incident-free for everyone except Kyle Busch. His 18 Toyota spun into the outside wall at turn three when a tire went down. FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass reported that his team will go to a backup car, one that was originally intended for Hamlin, and he will start from the rear on Sunday. 

Austin Dillon reiterated that “it takes a lot different driving style” for these Next Gen cars, and it’s still something the drivers are working on. 

Owen Johnson