Kyle Larson continues to lead the NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard with a Busch Light Pole Award victory Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway.
Larson would lead the field to the green flag after a qualifying lap of 96.078 mph (19.709 s). He enters the weekend fresh off the back of a dominating win at Miami Homestead Speedway that gave his car the owners win in the season finale.
“I just tried to be smooth, keep the traction the whole lap, and it worked,” Larson said. “On the first lap I tried to go a little harder than the previous one. I kind of locked up, so I just backed off on the second lap. I feel like a lot of times here, slower is faster, so I just tried to be smooth. I’m surprised I did anything good here in Martinsville, so off to a good start so far. Hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow.”
It’s his fourth pole of the season and 14th of his career.
Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott finished second with a fastest lap of 96.019 mph.
Chase Briscoe, last on the playoff grid, qualified third. Briscoe posted a speed of 96.109 mph.
Ryan Blaney qualified fourth (95.927 mph), Cole Custer fifth (95.733 mph) and Brad Keselowski sixth (95.719 mph).
Daniel Suarez qualified seventh (95.588 mph), Kevin Harvick eighth (95.530 mph), Ross Chastain ninth (95.501 mph) and Harrison Burton rounded out the top 10 (94.998 mph).
The other playoff drivers were: Denny Hamlin in 11th (95.815 mph), Joey Logano in 12th (95.801 mph), Christopher Bell in 20th (95.242 mph) and William Byron in 25th -m (94.955 mph).
Four riders below the playoff line: Byron, Blaney, Bell and Briscoe.
Alex Bowman won the fall race at Martinsville last season. Bowman will miss his fifth race on Sunday with a concussion but has been cleared to return to action next weekend.
NEXT: Xfinity 500 at 2pm ET on Sunday.