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Tyler Reddick narrowly clinches pole at Charlotte

CONCORD, N.C. – After running what he termed “one of the dirtiest laps I’ve ever had in practice,” Tyler Reddick got just what he needed in Saturday’s subsequent qualifying session at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course.

Turning a lap in 81.214 seconds (102.839 mph) in the final round of time trials, Reddick earned the pole position for Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400, the Round of 12 elimination race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Reddick edged fellow Toyota driver Christopher Bell (102.695 mph) by .124 seconds to secure his second Busch Light Pole Award of the season, his first at the 2.32-mile, 17-turn circuit and the sixth of his career.

The driver of the No. 45 23XI Racing Camry chose an opportune time to snag the top spot on the grid. Reddick enters the race ninth in the standings, two points behind Brad Keselowski for the final spot in the Round of 8. Keselowski will start 19th on Sunday.

“I got lucky,” said Reddick, who was fastest in Group A in the opening round of qualifying at 103.207 mph. “I had one of my dirtiest laps I’ve ever had in practice. But this is exactly where we need to be on Saturday.

“I knew I had to go out and qualify here to give us some options.”

Since the debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen car last season, Reddick is the only driver with more than one road course victory. He triumphed at Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course last year and won at Circuit of the Americas in March.

Two other Playoff drivers below the cut line for the Round of 8 had promising qualifying runs. Bubba Wallace, nine points behind Keselowski, earned the fourth starting position with a lap at 102.569 mph. Kyle Busch, 26 points in arrears, will start fifth after a lap at 102.494 mph.

Non-Playoff drivers Daniel Suarez, AJ Allmendinger, Joey Logano, and Ty Gibbs will start third, sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively. Allmendinger led Group B with the fastest lap of the day at 103.295 mph.

Chase Elliott, fighting for the owners’ championship, qualified eighth. Denny Hamlin jumped the curb and spun in the backstretch chicane and failed to complete a lap in the final round. Hamlin’s miscue forced NASCAR to red flag the session and prevented Gibbs, who was running behind Hamlin, from posting a lap.

Playoff driver Kyle Larson didn’t make a qualifying attempt in the first round after hitting the Turn 8 wall in practice and going to a backup car for Sunday’s race. Fifteen points ahead of Reddick, Larson will start from the rear.

“I don’t think you can go for stage points from 40th (actually 37th),” Larson said of his race strategy. “The silver lining may be that you can short the stages (by pitting early) and get your track position that way to be up front at the end of the race. I think that would be the plan, I guess, going forward.”

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

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