NASCAR Cup SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series

Kyle Larson, Riley Herbst lead Cup, Xfinity Charlotte qualifying

3 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kyle Larson was the fastest in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for the next day’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while Riley Herbst has enjoyed a dominant pre-race weekend as he led Xfinity Series qualifying a day after doing the same in practice.

Larson set a fastest lap time of 29.953 seconds at 180.282 mph to beat Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a Bond-esque .007 in both categories. It is Larson’s ninth career earned Cup pole, his first since Sonoma in 2019 (though he sat out much of 2020 due to suspension and most races since have been non-qualifying events), and his first on a 1.5-mile track. All but two of his poles (Auto Club and Michigan in 2017) have come on non-traditional oval tracks. Prior to the pole, he had never started higher than ninth at Charlotte (2015).

For Stenhouse, he records his fourth front-row start at a 1.5-miler and his first since the 2019 Atlanta spring race. His previous best at Charlotte was third in 2016.

Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports team-mates Chase Elliott and William Byron make up the second row, while the fourth driver Alex Bowman was seventh. Austin Dillon, who led Friday Cup practice, was sixth. David Starr qualified thirty-eighth and last for his first Cup start of the year.

At the Xfinity level, where the Alsco Uniforms 300 is held later in the day, Herbst led a Ford front row with a time of 29.350 seconds at 183.986 mph for his first career pole. His previous best was fourth in the season opener at Daytona, while he started on the pole at Richmond in 2019 after qualifying was rained out.

Chase Briscoe, who won an Xfinity Series-high nine races in 2020 in Herbst’s #98 Stewart-Haas Racing ride, qualified second in his return to the series; his run marked B.J. McLeod Motorsports‘s first top-two start, with the team’s previous best qualifying effort being twelfth by Briscoe’s Cup team-mate Kevin Harvick the previous week at COTA.

McLeod’s newly introduced #76 car driven by Stefan Parsons qualified twenty-first. Camping World Truck Series veteran Grant Enfinger, who finished fourteenth in Friday’s race, made the field via owner points and will begin his Xfinity début in thirty-fifth; Enfinger was tasked with the #26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota as the original driver Brandon Gdovic, who has not raced at a 1.5-miler since 2015, expressed doubt that he could qualify on time.

Despite his team’s strong performances in the session, McLeod was not as fortunate as he failed to qualify in DGM Racing’s #90. Joining him in missing the race are Starr, Dillon Bassett, Kyle Weatherman, Joe Graf Jr., Gray Gaulding, and Bayley Currey.

Cup qualifying results

PositionNumberDriverTeamManufacturerBest TimeBest Speed (mph)
15Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet29.953180.282
247Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet29.960180.240
39Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet29.969180.186
424William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet29.970180.180
54Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord29.993180.042
63Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet30.029179.826
748Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet30.045179.730
819Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota30.064179.617
999Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet30.069179.587
1042Ross ChastainChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet30.072179.569
1112Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord30.090179.462
121Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet30.090179.462
132Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord30.111179.336
1411Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota30.112179.330
158Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet30.143179.146
1622Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord30.146179.128
1720Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota30.159179.051
1823Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota30.207178.767
1943Erik JonesRichard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet30.231178.625
2018Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota30.241178.566
2114Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord30.270178.394
2221Matt DiBenedettoWood Brothers RacingFord30.274178.371
2341Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord30.298178.230
2434Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord30.323178.083
256Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFord30.325178.071
267Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet30.330178.042
2717Chris BuescherRoush Fenway RacingFord30.336178.006
2837Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet30.402177.620
2938Anthony AlfredoFront Row MotorsportsFord30.415177.544
3077Justin Haley*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet30.708175.850
3110Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord30.834175.131
3200Quin HouffStarCom RacingChevrolet30.939174.537
3378B.J. McLeod*Live Fast MotorsportsFord30.952174.464
3453Cody Ware*Rick Ware RacingChevrolet30.971174.357
3515James DavisonRick Ware RacingChevrolet31.493171.467
3651Garrett Smithley*Rick Ware RacingChevrolet31.499171.434
3752Josh BilickiRick Ware RacingFord31.569171.054
3866David Starr*MBM MotorsportsToyota33.071163.285
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points


PositionNumberDriverTeamManufacturerBest TimeBest Speed (mph)
198Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord29.350183.986
299Chase Briscoe*B.J. McLeod MotorsportsFord29.727181.653
318Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota29.814181.123
422Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord29.855180.874
516A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet30.068179.593
651Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet30.097179.420
72Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet30.113179.325
854Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota30.127179.241
910Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet30.173178.968
1023Ty DillonOur MotorsportsChevrolet30.207178.767
1111Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet30.260178.453
1239Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord30.286178.300
1320Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota30.291178.271
1419Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota30.304178.194
1502Brett MoffittOur MotorsportsChevrolet30.317178.118
1631Tyler Reddick*Jordan Anderson RacingChevrolet30.374177.784
170Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet30.380177.749
188Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet30.383177.731
191Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet30.465177.253
204Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet30.523176.916
2176Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet30.524176.910
2213Chad FinchumMBM MotorsportsToyota30.525176.904
239Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet30.527176.893
245Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet30.646176.206
2548Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet30.665176.097
267Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet30.700175.896
2744Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet30.727175.741
286Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet30.731175.718
2915Colby HowardJD MotorsportsChevrolet30.797175.342
3078Jesse LittleB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota30.824175.188
3117Cody WareSS-Green Light RacingToyota30.827175.171
3268Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevroletOwner PointsOwner Points
3336Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevroletOwner PointsOwner Points
3492Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevroletOwner PointsOwner Points
3526Grant Enfinger*Sam Hunt RacingToyotaOwner PointsOwner Points
3666Timmy Hill*MBM MotorsportsToyotaOwner PointsOwner Points
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
1591 posts

About author
Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
Related posts
NASCAR Cup Series

Kurt Busch wins Kansas in 23XI banner day

3 Mins read
All six Toyota NASCAR Cup cars, including the 23XI Racing duo of Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace, finished in the top 10 at Kansas as Busch held off Kyle Larson for his first win with the team.
NASCAR Cup Series

Spire Motorsports partners with UACC for Ukrainian civil defence aid

2 Mins read
Spire Motorsports’ #77, piloted by Josh Bilicki, will feature “Slava Ukraini” and adorned in blue and yellow as part of a sponsorship from the Ukranian American Coordinating Council, who is providing armour and aid for the country’s civil defence units.
NASCAR Cup Series

Joey Logano moves Byron for Goodyear 400 win

3 Mins read
This surely won’t be controversial. In response to contact that squeezed him into the wall, Joey Logano bumped William Byron with two laps remaining for the win at Darlington.