Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Larson wins pole thanks to rainout

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Things keep going right for Kyle Larson.

Hours after saying he hoped qualifying for Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 would be rained out, he got his wish, giving him the pole position on a track where he has struggled.

"I think it will be a good advantage to start on the pole, get the jump and hopefully take care of my stuff early," said Larson, the early season points leader.

With the lineup set by owner points because of the rain, Chase Elliott will start on the outside of the front row, with Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski in the second row. The rest of the top 10 is Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

Larson, who had three straight second-place finishes before winning last weekend at Fontana, Calif., posted the third-fastest time in Friday's first practice session, trailing only former winners Denny Hamlin and Busch. That was after almost crashing his car early in the hour-long practice session.

"The braking was a little sketchy," he said.

Since the series switched to stage racing this season, with points awarded to the frontrunners at the end of two predetermined distances then at the end, Larson has consistently earned points in every race, but he joked he will need every advantage possible on the 0.526-mile oval.

"You never know. Our cars are so good right now, maybe we could contend for a win," he said. "But I'd like for it to continue to rain (Friday) so I can start on the pole."

Larson did finish third in this race a year ago but said it was at least in part because the race was run in cold temperatures, which minimized tire wear. Tire wear, brake preservation and patience are typically the three elements that make many drivers consider the oldest and shortest track also the trickiest.

Larson wins pole thanks to rainout 03/31/17 [Last modified: Friday, March 31, 2017 8:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
  2. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  3. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  4. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.