Erik Jones captured the pole for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with a lap just three one-thousandths-of-a-second quicker than Kyle Larson.
It was the first career Cup pole for the 21-year-old rookie driver.
Jones’ No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota for Furniture Row Racing ran a fast lap during the pole round of 14.981 seconds at 128.082 mph on the 0.533-mile high banked oval. Larson’s lap was 14.984 at 128.057.
“I wasn’t sure if that lap was going to hold out, but I knew it was a pretty good lap time for us,” said Jones. “I knew it was all I had so just cool to be coming off a good week at Michigan and then coming back here, started off right. Get the pole at Bristol nonetheless. Pretty cool place to get the first Cup pole. The 5-hour ENERGY Camry is fast, we just need to keep it going.
“It’s cool any time you get your first pole in a series, but to do it at Bristol, that’s pretty cool. I’m just excited. We’ve got a really good 5-Hour Energy Camry. We had a good week last week and we’ve done a good job keeping the momentum going so far, so hoping for a good day tomorrow night. Obviously really excited to get the race going now and see what we can do.”
Jones’ Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. qualified sixth in the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Toyota with a pole-round lap of 15.046 at 127.529. He will start on the outside of Row 3 next to Matt Kenseth.
The top-12 qualifiers were: Jones, Larson, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Kenseth, Truex, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Jamie McMurray and Daniel Suarez.
Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will air live beginning at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on NBC, SiriusXM 90 and PRN.