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May 25, 2024

Ty Gibbs earns first career Busch Light Pole at Charlotte

Ty Gibbs smiles in front of the Busch Light Pole Award after qualifying first at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600.
Logan Riely
Getty Images

CONCORD, N.C. — Ty Gibbs saved the strongest performance of the day for the money lap in time trials for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Streaking around 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway in the final round of Saturday’s qualifying session for NASCAR’s longest race, Gibbs covered the distance in 29.355 seconds (183.955 mph) to claim the first Busch Light Pole Award of his career.

RELATED: Sunday’s starting lineup | At-track photos: Charlotte

Gibbs edged William Byron (183.580 mph) by 0.060 seconds to become the second youngest Coca-Cola 600 pole winner at 21 years old. Byron was roughly a month younger than Gibbs is now when he won the pole for the Memorial Day weekend race at age 21 in 2019.

“I’m really excited for it,” said Gibbs, who a day earlier won the pole for Saturday’s BetMGM 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race. “And hopefully, I can go out there and get my first win tomorrow.

“It really helps to start up front in clean air — it’s really nice. And having that first pit stall as well is great also.”

Two of Gibbs’ Joe Gibbs Racing teammates qualified third and fourth, respectively, behind Byron — Christopher Bell (183.461 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (182.871 mph). Truex had the fastest lap in the opening round at 182.902 mph but couldn’t improve in the second round.

Gibbs, on the other hand, cut 0.266 seconds off his first-round time when the pole was at stake.

Byron had three teammates in the top 10 — Chase Elliott (fifth fastest), Alex Bowman (sixth) and Kyle Larson (10th). Larson planned to leave for Indianapolis after Charlotte time trials in anticipation of running the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double.

Larson was fifth fastest in Indy 500 qualifying last Sunday.

Ross Chastain was seventh fastest in Coke 600 qualifying, followed by Tyler Reddick, Michael McDowell (the only Ford to make the final round) and Larson.

Reddick, however, will not start in the spot he earned. His 23XI Racing team made unapproved adjustments to the underwing of the No. 45 Toyota after passing pre-race inspection.

NASCAR penalized the team with the ejection of car chief Michael Hobson, loss of pit selection and a pass-through penalty after starting from the rear of the field on Sunday.

Reddick still had to qualify so as not to have a tire advantage in the race. All cars must start the event on their scuffed qualifying tires.

Byron fastest in practice

Despite spinning in Turn 4 during the opening minutes of practice, Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron topped the leaderboard at 181.318 mph.

Tyler Reddick (180.114 mph), Bubba Wallace (180.060 mph), Carson Hocevar (179.336 mph) and Ty Gibbs (179.063 mph) rounded out the top five.

MORE: Practice results

Kyle Larson (179.027 mph), Chris Buescher (178.974 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (178.790 mph), Ross Chastain (178.761 mph) and Daniel Suárez (178.761 mph) completed the top 10.

Although he had a quick car in practice, Buescher suffered damage to the left side of his No. 17 RFK Racing Ford after spinning into the Turn 2 wall. Buescher drove his car back to the garage for his team to assess the damage and did not make a qualifying run.

Contributing: Staff reports