Hendrick Motorsports looked stout on Friday from the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. In the lone Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session, Jimmie Johnson topped the speed charts with a speed of 103.152 mph in his No. 48 Chevrolet as he was joined up front by his teammates too. William Byron was P3 while Chase Elliott was P6 giving HMS three of the top six speeds.
In qualifying, they backed that speed up with not only sweeping the front row for Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 (2:30 p.m. ET/NBC/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) but also taking three of the top four starting spots as well.
William Byron earned his fifth career Busch Pole Award by turning in a lap of 103.198 mph in the final of two rounds of qualifying on Friday afternoon. All five of his poles in his No. 24 Chevrolet have come this season as he’s won the top starting spot for all the big races including sweeping both Cup race pole on his home track at Charlotte.
He started first for the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500, the first race at Pocono and now on the ROVAL. This is actually his first top 10 starting spot since the Southern 500 at Darlington back on Labor Day weekend.
Byron, enters this weekend holding the 12th and final playoff spot that advances to the Round of 12. He leads his teammate of Alex Bowman by just two points. He will also lead him to green on Sunday too as Bowman will roll off second in his No. 88 Chevrolet.
Bowman, circled the road course with a speed of 103.078 mph to earn his second top five starting spot since Memorial Day weekend and just his first front row starting spot since the Daytona 500.
Johnson, starts fourth in his No. 48 Chevrolet after turning a lap of 102.893 mph. This is his fifth straight top 10 starting spot.
Joey Logano (103.037 mph) broke up the HMS party up front as he’ll start third in his No. 22 Ford while Clint Bowyer (102.838 mph) rounded out the top five in his No. 14 Ford.
The top starting Toyota is Martin Truex Jr. in eighth. Ford’s took six of the top 11 starting spots with Penske having all three of their cars (3-9-11) in the top six Rows.
The playoff bubble drivers take three of the top five starting spots. Byron, is 12th and will start first. Bowman, is 13th and starts second. Bowyer, is 14th and rolls off fifth.
Kurt Busch won the pole for this race last year and is 15th in the standings. He’ll start 23d on Sunday. Erik Jones is facing a must win in 16th but will have to come from 15th.
Other bubble drivers in Aric Almirola (11th) and Ryan Blaney (10th) will start in 16th and ninth respectively.
Bank of America ROVAL 400 Starting Lineup
Row 1: William Byron, Alex Bowman
Row 2: Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson
Row 3: Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick
Row 4: Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 5: Ryan Blaney, Paul Menard
Row 6: Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher
Row 7: Daniel Suarez, Ryan Preece R
Row 8: Erik Jones, Aric Almirola
Row 9: Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 10: Chase Elliott, Daniel Hemric R
Row 11: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Michael McDowell
Row 12: Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman
Row 13: Bubba Wallace, Corey LaJoie
Row 14: David Ragan, Denny Hamlin
Row 15: Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon
Row 16: Cody Ware, Landon Cassill
Row 17: Timmy Hill, Josh Bilicki
Row 18: Garrett Smithley, Matt Tifft R
Row 19: Ross Chastain, Reed Sorenson
Row 20: Joe Nemechek, Parker Kligerman