It didn’t take long for Kyle Larson to assert his superiority on the dirt track at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Starting sixth in the third of four 15-lap qualifying heat races, Larson had stormed into the lead before the end of the first lap and held off charging Ryan Preece for a wire-to-wire victory.
The combination of finishing position and passing points gave Larson 15 total points, good for the pole position for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Thunder Valley (7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Larson will start beside Austin Dillon, who drove from fifth to first in the opening heat race, scoring 14 points. Dirt specialist J.J. Yeley earned the third spot on the grid, driving from ninth to third behind Larson and Preece to earn 14 points in the third heat.
From the start of the third heat race, the top lane opened up for Larson, who passed fourth-place starter Matt Crafton and took full advantage when second-place Corey LaJoie dropped to the bottom lane.
That left only Erik Jones to overtake, and Larson did so expeditiously.
“The outside lane launched really well, and my car turned well enough to stay rotated and get by him,” Larson explained.
Christopher Bell, who ran third from eighth in the first heat, will start on the outside of the second row. Defending race winner Kyle Busch will take the green flag from the fifth position, with Tyler Reddick to his outside.
Austin Cindric, Preece, Heat 2 winner Ryan Blaney and William Byron earned positions seven through 10, respectively. Heat 4 winner Bubba Wallace is 11th on the grid, having won the qualifier from the pole.
Dirt late model superstar Jonathan Davenport will make his Cup Series debut from the 21st position after starting second and finishing fourth in the final heat.