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Cole Custer wraps up Busch Light Pole for Bristol dirt

Cole Custer gathered up the Busch Light Pole Award on Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track, collecting the most points in Saturday evening’s NASCAR Cup Series qualifying heats.

Custer drove from ninth to second place in the first 15-lap heat, accumulating one point in the starting-lineup formula for each position gained. The points for his finishing spot and the passing points put his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in the first starting spot for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race (7 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM), icing his first Cup Series pole.

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“I wouldn’t call myself a dirt racing expert whatsoever,” Custer said. “I did it when I was younger. I raced some Ford Focus midgets when I was in my early teens and I always loved dirt, but I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert. I’m nowhere near Kyle Larson, so getting my first pole at a dirt race is pretty crazy.”

Avid dirt racer Christopher Bell is set to start second in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota in Sunday’s 250-lap main event. Tyler Reddick earned the third starting spot, with Chase Briscoe and Kyle Larson finishing out the top five in order.

Reddick slipped by Ross Chastain on Lap 5 and led the rest of the first heat. A Turn 2 spin by Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Ford was the qualifying race’s only caution period, flying with nine of the 15 laps complete.

Bell drove past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch with five laps remaining to win Heat 2. Bell went from fifth to first in the qualifying race. Daniel Suárez’s solo spin with four laps complete forced the only caution flag.

Justin Haley’s No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet sped to a wire-to-wire win in Heat 3. Ty Dillon withstood the challenges of Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Larson to take Heat 4.

QUALIFYING HEAT RESULTS

Heat 1
Pos. No. Driver Manufacturer
1 8 Tyler Reddick Chevrolet
2 41 Cole Custer Ford
3 48 Alex Bowman Chevrolet
4 6 Brad Keselowski Ford
5 38 Todd Gilliland Ford
6 12 Ryan Blaney Ford
7 7 Corey LaJoie Chevrolet
8 19 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota
9 1 Ross Chastain Chevrolet
Heat 2
Pos. No. Driver Manufacturer
1 20 Christopher Bell Toyota
2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota
3 14 Chase Briscoe Ford
4 34 Michael McDowell Ford
5 43 Erik Jones Chevrolet
6 77 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet
7 99 Daniel Suárez Chevrolet
8 4 Kevin Harvick Ford
9 78 Josh Williams Ford
Heat 3
Pos. No. Driver Manufacturer
1 31 Justin Haley Chevrolet
2 22 Joey Logano Ford
3 17 Chris Buescher Ford
4 45 Kurt Busch Toyota
5 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet
6 23 Bubba Wallace Toyota
7 15 JJ Yeley Ford
8 16 Noah Gragson Chevrolet
9 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota
Heat 4
Pos. No. Driver Manufacturer
1 42 Ty Dillon Chevrolet
2 9 Chase Elliott Chevrolet
3 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet
4 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet
5 24 William Byron Chevrolet
6 2 Austin Cindric Ford
7 21 Harrison Burton Ford
8 10 Aric Almirola Ford
9 51 Cody Ware Ford