Ryan Blaney bounces back from a spin to put Ford on pole position at COTA

“I wouldn’t have thought we’d be sitting on the pole after hitting the fence,” Blaney said while praising NASCAR’s new Next Gen race car for its durability. “I appreciate the soft wall that was there and the tough racing car.”

Daniel Suarez qualified second alongside Blaney in a Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing. The Mexican driver was expecting a strong turnout from fans in what is essentially a home race.

“It’s one of the few races where my friends and family can actually come from home and drive here, so it’s amazing to have a lot of Mexican fans in the stands and in the pits,” Suarez said. , who made sponsor appearances Friday at Austin-area schools and “I was impressed by how many kids spoke to me in Spanish.”

“It’s really amazing to me. It made me feel like home. I can’t wait to see Mexican flags in the stands on Sunday,” Suarez said.

Cole Custer qualified third in a Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing and will start alongside Tyler Reddick in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

Alex Bowman was Hendrick Motorsports’ best-qualified driver in fifth, followed by Blaney teammate Joey Logano. Seventh-placed Christopher Bell was the top Toyota, one place ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.

Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley and Penske’s Austin Cindric rounded out the top 10.

Chase Elliott, the defending race winner and the only one of four Hendrick drivers without a win so far this year, qualified 12th.

Sunday’s race at COTA is NASCAR’s second appearance at the permanent road course best known for its annual Formula 1 race. Speedway Motorsports has leased the track to promote the race, the first of six road courses on the 2022 calendar.

The combination of NASCAR’s new car and a road course – where the field is truly evenly matched because the circuit is so new to production cars – brought some new faces to Sunday’s field: Loris Hezemans will make his debut in Cup Series for Team Hezeberg, the team that made its Daytona 500 debut with Jacques Villeneuve.

Road racing veteran Boris Said makes his first Cup start since 2017. Andy Lally, a NASCAR Rookie of the Year, is in the race but was unable to qualify after the failure of the inspecting his car. He will serve a passage penalty at the start of the race.

Joey Hand, brought in by Ford, was also unable to complete a qualifying lap after a tire problem in practice caused extensive damage to his car. He will start 38th.

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