today is Jun 08, 2023

Ryan Blaney rebounded from a spin in practice to win the pole for the Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

The Team Penske driver put down the best lap in the final round of qualifying at 92.759 mph (2m 12.343s). The pole is the eighth of Blaney’s Cup Series career, but his first pole at COTA and second this season.

“I wouldn’t have thought we’d sit on the pole after I hit the fence,” he said. “So, I appreciate the fast car, No.1, and I appreciate the soft wall that was over there and the resilient race car. I’m really proud – awesome (for) this Menards Richmond Ford Mustang team to sit on the pole.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the best road course racer; I kind of struggle and always look to find speed, and it was cool that we had it today in qualifying, so hopefully, that carries over to tomorrow. But proud of everybody here on the 12 group and excited for tomorrow. It’s a pretty good surprise after practice. So good job by everybody.”

Daniel Suarez will join Blaney on the front row after clocking in the second fastest lap at 92.741 mph.

Cole Custer will start third (92.669 mph), with Tyler Reddick fourth (92.613 mph), and Alex Bowman fifth (92.54 mph).

Joey Logano qualified sixth (92.376 mph), ahead of Christopher Bell in seventh (92.362 mph), and Denny Hamlin in eighth (92.265 mph), with Justin Haley (91.91 mph), and Austin Cindric (91.653 mph) completing the top-10.

Cindric spun through the esses during his qualifying lap but was able to finish his lap.

Defending race winner Chase Elliott qualified 12th.

Other notables through the field: Kyle Busch will start 15th, Martin Truex Jr. 17th, Kevin Harvick 18th, and William Byron 24th.

Aric Almirola had his first run disallowed for exceeding track limits in Turn 4. NASCAR will enforce track limits this weekend from Turns 3 through 6 by penalizing those who have four tires off the racing surface. Almirola made a second run that was 25th fastest.

Brad Keselowski will start 26th, Michael McDowell 27th, and Erik Jones 30th.

Cody Ware brought out a brief caution in the first group when he wound up in the gravel trap. Ware tweeted that the steering rack broke on his Rick Ware Racing Ford during practice, and the team thought they had fixed it for qualifying.

Loris Hezemans will start 36th in his Cup Series debut with Team Hezeberg, one spot ahead of Boris Said.

Joey Hand did not post a qualifying lap. In practice, a right-front tire issue destroyed the fender on his Ford Mustang, which needed significant repair work. He will start 38th on Sunday.

Andy Lally will start last after he was not permitted to make a qualifying lap. Lally’s car failed inspection three times, and he will also have to serve a pass-through penalty at the start of the race.

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