NASCAR heads to Texas this weekend with just three races left for the AAA Texas 500. Austin Dillon took home the pole during Friday's qualifying session.
Dillon led the way with a stellar run around the track at 192.301 mph. He will be followed by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson in the top five.
Here are the full qualifying results from Friday's qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway:
|2016 NASCAR At Texas Qualifying Results|
|12||Martin Truex Jr.||189.560|
|20||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||189.195|
Dillon's pole marks just his third on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, with Richard Childress Racing posting footage of the elated youngster after his triumph:
The 26-year-old is still in search of his first career victory at this level after 22 top-10 finishes. His best finish this season was at Talladega in May, when he came in third.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided some good-natured ribbing after Dillon captured the pole:
Sunday's event marks the second of the three-race Round of 8 portion of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Jimmie Johnson currently holds a slim five-point edge over Denny Hamlin. Both drivers were basically even in qualifying, with Hamlin coming out of things in the 17th position and Johnson starting 19th on Sunday.
Johnson is not under any pressure this week, knowing his spot in the final four is secure thanks to his victory at Martinsville last week. He is a serious threat to win again this week having won five times on this track since 2012, including a win in this race last year.
Logano has put himself in a prime spot to be a big winner this weekend. He's fifth in the Chase standings and will start from the second position, though he wasn't wholly satisfied with how things played out on Friday:
Harvick isn't exactly sweating things out, starting right behind Logano in the field. He does need a rebound performance this weekend after finishing 20th last week in Martinsville.
Kyle Busch, on the other hand, did not do himself any favors in qualifying. The No. 18 had the worst qualifying run of the eight drivers still in the Chase field. He wasn't helped by a crash during practice earlier in the day, via NASCAR:
Following the crash, Busch talked about his path to success this weekend and trying to defend his Sprint Cup title with Joe Menzer of FoxSports.com:
It’s unfortunate there with our practice crash that we had. It kind of puts us a little bit more behind the eight ball than we’d like to be. I hate that happened for my guys and all the work they’ve already put into my primary and now having to switch to a backup car is not how we wanted to start off practice. We didn’t even get a lap on that thing.
Things would get more complicated for Busch when qualifying started. He did fare well in the opening practice round with the second-fastest time, but Kenny Bruce of NASCAR.com noted his backup car had a radiator hose come loose after the round ended.
Drama and urgency are at a fever pitch for drivers still in the Chase. Johnson can take his foot off the pedal if he wants to, though his success on this track has to make him the favorite.
Everyone looking up at Johnson in the standings knows time is running out to make a move. Dillon doesn't have a Sprint Cup on the line, though if his big breakthrough finally comes on Sunday, it could wreak havoc on the points standings heading into the final race in the Round of 8.