Bell earns third Cup Series pole of season at scorching Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. –Christopher Bell qualified on pole for Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, topping the time set by Tyler Reddick earlier in the session and earning his third pole of the NASCAR Cup Series season for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bell lapped 179.575 mph on Saturday in the first Next Gen car showcase at the one-and-a-half-mile oval west of downtown Kansas City. It was enough to beat Reddick, who clocked 178.855 mph for Richard Childress Racing, and add to the poles Bell won in Las Vegas and Talladega.

Now the trick is to do something about it. Bell finished 10th in the desert and 22nd a few weeks ago in Alabama.

“These guys are doing a really good job on this 20th car and have been all year. Really proud of the effort,” said Bell, who was going for his second win in NASCAR’s best series since winning the Daytona road course in February 2021.

“Hopefully,” Bell said with a smile, “we can continue tomorrow.”

Betting favorite Kyle Larson qualified third for Hendrick Motorsports and will start on the second row alongside Austin Cindric, the best of the Penske team cars. Kurt Busch made five different teams in the top five for 23XI Racing, while Kyle Busch qualified sixth and Aric Almirola finished seventh for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 on a brutally hot Kansas afternoon.

“We have everything we need to win races,” said Bell, who will be looking to become the 11th different driver in the first 13 races to clinch a playoff spot with a victory. “Our cars were super fast. We just have to maintain our position on the track. We really, really struggled on pit road, and that’s one of the reasons we’re not fighting for wins. If we manage to master our difficulties on pit road, we will fight for sure.

Last week’s winner at Darlington, Joey Logano, along with Ricky Stenhouse and Chris Buescher had issues with the left rear tires and found the wall in practice. None were able to qualify and all will start close to the back on Sunday.

“I turned the corner, I could feel it shaking and I knew it was bad,” Logano said. “We will have to come from behind, but everything will be fine. We will fight through this. I think we were pretty decent on the lap times before.

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