Erik Jones will kick off the playoffs by winning the pole for Sunday’s Inaugural South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series at 188.121 mph in 28.705 seconds.
“It’s exciting to be in the Playoffs for the first time,” proclaimed Jones. “In the Cup Series, you want to be in contention for a championship. This is our opportunity to do it this year. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be challenging. It’s going to be a new experience.”
Joey Logano was 0.003 seconds off the top spot, and will start on Jones’s outside. Both drivers were the only competitors to run a 188 mph average speed in the final stage of qualifying.
“Just not quite fast enough. I hate being three-thousandths of a second off,” Logano shared as he was frustrated by the short margin. “I am proud of the effort everyone has put into this car. We have a good Pennzoil Ford to run here at Vegas. I am excited about that. Just didn’t finish the turn quite good enough. Got into the corner and turned the first part alright but couldn’t finish the center to the deepest point of the corner. So we will start second and race from there.”
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who was hundredths of a second from being eliminated in the first round of qualifying, wound up third and fourth in the final stage of qualifying. Kevin Harvick was the only one of the “Big 3” to consistently run up front in all three stages of qualifying and will start fifth.
“It was good”, Harvick confidently stated. “We fought tight the whole time and at the last one I got it in there a little too high in turn one and could never really get it back to the bottom but it was still a good lap.”
The rest of the final stage results for positions six through twelve went to Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, the only non-Playoff contender in the final stage of qualifying.
Earlier Stages of Qualifying for the Inaugural South Point 400:
In the first stage of qualifying, Kevin Harvick held the top spot over Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and Client Bowyer. All playoff drivers made it to Round 2, but Kyle Busch bobbles in the middle of 3 and 4, almost costing him as he finishes 24th in the first round, barely edging out Regan Smith and Matt DiBenedetto.
The second stage had Erik Jones at the top of the charts with a slightly slower time than the first stage. Harvick, Logano, Hamlin and Larson was the top five positions going into the final stage. The Playoff drivers eliminated at the second stage were Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Inaugural South Point 400
|1||20||Erik Jones (P)||DeWalt||Toyota|
|2||22||Joey Logano (P)||Pennzoil||Ford|
|3||11||Denny Hamlin (P)||FedEx Ground||Toyota|
|4||18||Kyle Busch (P)||M&M’s||Toyota|
|5||4||Kevin Harvick (P)||Mobil 1||Ford|
|6||12||Ryan Blaney (P)||PPG||Ford|
|7||9||Chase Elliott (P)||NAPA Auto Parts||Chevrolet|
|8||41||Kurt Busch (P)||Haas Automation||Ford|
|9||88||Alex Bowman (P)||Valvoline||Chevrolet|
|10||78||Martin Truex Jr. (P)||5-hour ENERGY||Toyota|
|11||42||Kyle Larson (P)||DC Solar Vegas Strong||Chevrolet|
|13||2||Brad Keselowski (P)||Autotrader||Ford|
|14||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||SunnyD||Ford|
|15||14||Clint Bowyer (P)||One Cure||Ford|
|16||10||Aric Almirola (P)||Smithfield||Ford|
|17||48||Jimmie Johnson (P)||Lowe’s for Pros||Chevrolet|
|18||3||Austin Dillon (P)||DOWFROST||Chevrolet|
|21||24||William Byron #||AXALTA||Chevrolet|
|22||31||Ryan Newman||Liberty National||Chevrolet|
|23||6||Trevor Bayne||AdvoCare Rehydrate||Ford|
|26||32||Matt DiBenedetto||Zynga Poker||Ford|
|27||38||David Ragan||MDS Transport||Ford|
|28||37||Chris Buescher||Natural Light Race Day Resume||Chevrolet|
|29||47||AJ Allmendinger||Kroger ClickList||Chevrolet|
|31||43||Bubba Wallace #||World Wide Technology||Chevrolet|
|33||99||Kyle Weatherman||StarCom Fiber||Chevrolet|
|34||15||Ross Chastain(i)||Xchange of America||Chevrolet|
|35||96||Jeffrey Earnhardt||American Soldier Network/Xtreme Concepts||Chevrolet|
|36||23||JJ Yeley(i)||Steakhouse Elite||Toyota|
|37||00||Landon Cassill(i)||StarCom Fiber||Chevrolet|
|38||51||BJ McLeod(i)||Jacob Companies||Ford|
(P) Playoff Contender
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series