Bell stays fast and motors to Southern 500 pole at Darlington

Christopher Bell was the best of the NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers Saturday at Darlington Raceway, backing up his fast practice time by earning the pole for the Cook Out Southern 500.

Bell earned the top spot with a lap of 169.193mph (29.065s). It’s his third pole in the last eight races and the seventh of his Cup Series career.

Denny Hamlin will join his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate on the front row. Hamlin qualified second at 169.042mph.

Tyler Reddick qualified third at 168.972mph, Ryan Blaney fourth at 168.273mph and Brad Keselowski completed the top five at 168.227mph.

Joey Logano qualified sixth at 168.152mph, Kevin Harvick seventh at 168.129mph, Chris Buescher eighth at 167.962mph, Michael McDowell ninth at 167.893mph and Aric Almirola 10th at 167.231mph.


Almirola was the only non-playoff driver who advanced to the final round of qualifying.

Kyle Busch qualified 11th (169.297mph), Kyle Larson 18th (168.411mph), and Bubba Wallace 19th (168.324mph).

For playoff drivers will start outside the top 20. William Byron qualified 23rd (168.089mph), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 25th (167.802mph), Ross Chastain 27th (167.625mph) and Martin Truex Jr. 31st (166.913mph).

Carson Hocevar qualified 15th for Legacy Motor Club in the No. 42 Chevrolet. Erik Jones, another Legacy M.C. driver and the defending race winner, qualified 20th.

There are 36 drivers entered in the Cook Out Southern 500.

Story originally appeared on Racer