Larson snags pole position by narrow margin at Martinsville Speedway

Kyle Larson (5) leads Christopher Bell (20) out of Turn 2 during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) (Chuck Burton, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RIDGEWAY, Va. – Kyle Larson won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, turning a fast lap at 96.034 miles per hour to edge Bubba Wallace for the top spot by one one-thousandth of a second.

Wallace completed his best lap around the 0.526-mile oval at 96.029 mph. He and Larson were the only two drivers to exceed 96 mph in their qualifying laps.

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Larson, the defending race winner, will lead a contingent of four Hendrick Motorsports cars in the race, which marks the first of the organization’s 28 victories on the paper-clip shaped track 40 years ago. Teammate Chase Elliott will start third, Alex Bowman will start 10th and William Byron 18th. All four HMS drivers have won at least once on NASCAR’s shortest oval.

The top 10 also includes points leader Martin Truex Jr. in fourth, Chase Briscoe and Joey Logano in the third row, Josh Berry and Denny Hamlin in the fourth and Ryan Blaney in ninth.

Blaney won the fall race on Oct. 29 and then won the season championship.

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