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Kyle Larson Narrowly Defeats Bubba Wallace for Martinsville Pole

Kyle Larson took the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 at Martinsville by 0.001 sec. over Bubba Wallace.


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Hendrick Motorsports is putting together a storybook weekend.

The successful organization is celebrating 40 incredible years in NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway, the site of the team's first NASCAR Cup Series win in 1984. With the team bringing over 1,500 special guests to the track, according to Jeff Gordon on the MRN broadcast, the hope is that all four HMS drivers put on a show.

Following practice and qualifying, it looks like their teams will do just that.

Capturing his second career pole at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Larson will lead the field to green in his ruby red No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet. This is Larson's 18th NASCAR Cup Series career pole and his second back-to-back pole, the last coming in 2017 from Michigan to Sonoma.

"That was honestly a bit unexpected I mean I knew we'd be good that second lap didn't feel that great," Larson shared. "Really cool to get this 40th anniversary Camaro on the pole."

Larson's pole-winning lap was a 19.718 sec. lap around the 0.526-mile short track, which equates to 96.034 mph. Larson took the top spot over Bubba Wallace by .001 seconds, which is irony considering the run-in the two had on track at Richmond.

RELATED: NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 Starting Lineup

"Of all people, it would be Larson by a thousandth," Wallace said before congratulating Larson on his qualifying lap. "They're good."

All is not lost though. The McDonald's 23XI Racing Toyota Camry XSE was second fastest in practice and had the second best 25-lap average lap times, showing his long run speed for Sunday's race is looking promising.

Following Larson and Wallace in qualifying was Chase Elliott, who paced Group B's practice session. This weekend Elliott is hoping to break a 55-race winless streak.

Martin Truex Jr. will start fourth, and is looking to redeem himself after a win slipped from his grasp following a dominant performance at Richmond last weekend. Rounding out the top-10 starters for Sunday's race are Chase Briscoe, Joey Logano, Josh Berry, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Alex Bowman.

Notably, the iconic No. 24 of William Byron will not start inside the top-10 with his teammates. Instead, he will roll off in the 18th position with a qualifying time of 19.994. However, Byron was top-10 in practice, placing third in the 10 best consecutive lap averages.

With speed seemingly in all the HMS cars, we will have to see if one of them can take home to grandfather clock while celebrating a historic anniversary.

Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick was scheduled to drive the pace car ahead of the Cook Out 400, but Hendrick underwent knee-replacement surgery and will not attend the event.

Story by: Taylor Kitchen

Photo Credit: James Gilbert, Getty Images

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