Youngster On Pole Of Cup’s Longest Race

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 24 2019
William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports is on pole for the 600. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by David Tulis)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – William Byron became the youngest driver to ever win a pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway Thursday, claiming the No. 1 starting position for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 with a 183.424-mph lap in his Chevrolet.

It was the second pole this season for the 21-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver and his first at the 1.5-mile track. In February, Byron earned the pole for the season opening Daytona 500.

“I don’t really like having the youngest term attached to me because I’ve always been the young guy,” the Charlotte, N.C., native said. “I really just look at myself as a race car driver.”

Byron sat in the speedway grandstands as a child and watched the race that he will now start from the pole. It’s an emotional time, but Byron possesses a realistic view.

“I’ve had one race here other than this one and it didn’t go so great last year,” said Byron, who finished 39th in his first Coca-Cola 600. “I really had that thought in my head going into this week. Just make it better than what last year was because that was miserable. I think that I honestly learned from that and the mistakes I made.”

Joining Byron on the front row is Aric Almirola in a Ford at 183.069 mph. Rounding out the top five are: Kyle Busch, Toyota, 182.933; Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 182.766 and Kevin Harvick, Ford, 182.741.

Daniel Hemric was the highest qualifying rookie, nailing down the 10th starting position in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with a 182.506-mph lap.

The 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 24 2019
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