Clint Bowyer soars to All-Star pole

Dustin Long
NBC Sports

CONCORD, N.C. – Clint Bowyer earned his first pole for the All-Star Race, posting the fastest time during the session, which featured three laps and a pit stop.

Kyle Busch joins Bowyer on the front row for Saturday night’s race that will pay $1 million to the winner. Kevin Harvick, who won this race last year, starts third and is followed by Austin Dillon and Martin Truex Jr.

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Busch was originally penalized for a tire violation during his pit stop but NASCAR reversed the call and allow his time to stand.

Bowyer’s best previous start in the All-Star Race was second in 2011. He has one top-10 finish in nine previous starts. His best finish in the event was seventh in 2014. Bowyer’s last pole in a points race was September 2007 at New Hampshire, a span of 417 races.

“We put ourselves in position to take their million bucks and that’s all you can ask for,” Bowyer said. 

Ryan Newman, who qualified sixth, had the fastest speed entering pit road at 167 mph, according to Racing Insights. Busch had the fastest pit stop at 14.6 seconds.

Joey Logano and Aric Almirola each slid through their pit box on their stops. Logano will start 10th and Almirola will start 13th.

The teams of Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski each were penalized five second for having one lug nut not secured after their stop. Keselowski will start 14th. Busch will start 15th.

The final four spots will be set by the Monster Energy Open. The three stage winners advance to the All-Star Race along with the fan vote winner.

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