William Byron wins pole for Dixie Vodka 400

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 22: William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet, poses for photos after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 22, 2022 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron won the pole position for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a lap of 166.389 mph in the No. 24 Chevrolet – his first pole position of the 2022 season and eighth of his career.

“It’s not like a guaranteed point gain,’’ Byron said, “The pit stall is good, I’m happy with that part of it. And just the momentum for the team. We’ve tried to get poles this year and we’ve come close, third, second – kind of all around that area. But it’s nice to kind of knock that off the list.

“That’s one of the things you want to do going into a season, win a pole. It shows where our team is and hopefully that’s a good sign.’’

Byron – the defending Homestead-Miami race winner – edged fellow NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contender Christopher Bell for the top starting position – his lap only .049-second faster than Bell’s in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Hendrick driver Chase Elliott will start third, alongside John Hunter Nemechek, who was impressive on track all morning – posting the fastest lap during practice. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contender Nemechek is driving the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota this week for the team’s fulltime driver Bubba Wallace, who is serving a one-race suspension from NASCAR for dangerous driving last week at Las Vegas.

Kyle Larson, who was involved with Wallace in that incident, will start his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet fifth. He’ll line up alongside 23XI Racing’s Ty Gibbs, who is filling in for that team’s other fulltime driver Kurt Busch – out for the remainder of the season while recovering from concussion-like symptoms.

Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, qualified seventh just ahead of both Roush-Fenway-Keselowski Racing Fords driven by Chris Buescher and driver/owner Brad Keselowski.

Xfinity Series championship contender A.J. Allmendinger was 10th – rounding out those that advanced to the final round of qualifying.

Five of the eight Playoff drivers did not make the second round of time trials on Saturday, including Penske Racing’s Ryan Blaney and JGR’s Denny Hamlin, who will roll off 13th and 14th, respectively. Penske Racing’s Joey Logano, the only driver who has already clinched a position in the Championship 4 with a victory at Las Vegas last Sunday, will start 17th.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain will start 19thand 20th on the grid.