Sunday July 14th, 2024 9:23PM

Ty Gibbs scores first career NASCAR Cup pole in Coca-Cola 600 qualifying

By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service

Ty Gibbs saved the strongest performance of the day for the money lap in time trials for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

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.

WDUN AM 550 & FM 102.9 will have live coverage from Charlotte beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday. 

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.

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