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Kyle Larson claimed pole position for Saturday night’s 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race by posting the best time in the final round of qualifying Friday evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.
The qualifying competition, which featured three timed laps and one four-tire pit stop, was used to fill out the spots for drivers who had already clinched a berth in tomorrow’s field. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch earned the other positions in the top five, respectively.
Here’s a look at the complete results via NASCAR.com:
Rank — Driver (Time)
1. Kyle Larson (112.626)
2. Kyle Busch (112.636)
3. Kevin Harvick (112.889)
4. Jimmie Johnson (121.692)
5. Kurt Busch (122.077)
— Eliminated Round 1 —
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (113.179)
7. Brad Keselowski (113.278)
8. Matt Kenseth (113.9430
9. Denny Hamlin (114.501)
10. Jamie McMurray (116.493)
11. Chris Buescher (116.684)
12. Joey Logano (116.890)
13. Kasey Kahne (116.924)
14. Martin Truex Jr. (117.609)
15. Ryan Newman (118.627)
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (119.809)
Qualifying for the All-Star Race was unlike anything else the teams dealt with during the course of the season. Not only was there a pit-stop element, but the usual pit-road speed limit was waved, making for a free-for-all atmosphere.
The unique rules didn’t trip up Larson, though. The 24-year-old California native will start from the pole for the fourth time in what’s been a breakout campaign. He leads the Cup Series in points through 11 races.
NASCAR on Fox Sports 1 passed along his comments after taking pole:
.@KyleLarsonRacin will lead the All-Star field to green tomorrow night in Charlotte.
#AllStarRace @JamieLittleTV https://t.co/lgnVFpKN1O
Meanwhile, it’s the last All-Star Weekend for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced last month he’s going to retire at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
The No. 88 team has struggled to build much momentum with Junior sitting in 25th place in the points standings. In addition, the All-Star Race hasn’t yielded many positive results over the years, with just one victory, and that came all the way back in 2000.
He told Phil Orban of WSOC-TV the lack of success at his home track over the years is disappointing, but he’s hoping to add some better memories Saturday.
“It stings a little bit, because this is our home track, and we grew up in this area, so it would mean a lot to me,” Earnhardt said.
Looking ahead, four more drivers will draw into the field before the green flag waves for the marquee event. Three will secure their spot through the Monster Energy Open, which will take place right before the All-Star Race, and the other place is reserved for the winner of the fan vote.
Larson and the other top qualifiers figure to hold a distinct advantage, though. They should be able to remain near the front since the race is broken into segments of no more than 20 laps, limiting concerns…