Ryan Blaney saved his best for last wen he claimed the pole position for Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at the ISM Raceway.

Blaney showed some muscle early and led Q2. When Q3 started Chase Elliott was the man to beat up until that point by setting a benchmark lap of 25.683 seconds early in the going.

Blaney bided his time to respond in Q3 and didn’t make his run until less than a minute and a half remaining in the five-minute final session to take his run. The driver of the No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang then bested Chase Elliott by .203 seconds with a lap of 25.480s.

The pole is the sixth of Blaney’s career and his second at ISM Raceway. Blaney saw the run as a good shot in the arm as he is the only Team Penske driver not to win yet this year.

“It’s a good way to start the weekend for sure,” said Blaney. “Qualifying hasn't been our best this year, but it’s the first short track we’ve been at.” “We’ve had speed all day which has been a lot of fun — we just kind of tweaked on it ever since then.

That was a lot of fun, the last time I talked to you in Vegas I wasn’t too happy in qualifying but it’s nice having to lift and work the car in qualifying.”

Elliott had to settle for second, his best starting spot at the 1.00-mile oval.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch will make up the second row, starting third and fourth respectively as Blaney’s teammate Brad Keselowski qualified fifth.

Alex Bowman, who claimed his first career pole at ISM Raceway in 2017, ended the day in sixth. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron made it to Q3 for the first time since winning the pole at Daytona and ended up seventh. The effort gives Bryon his best starting spot since Bristol last August.

Nine-time Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick ended up in eighth after leading Q1 while Martin Truex, Jr. and Erik Jones completed the top ten and gave Joe Gibbs Racing four cars in the top ten.

Richard Childress Racing rookie Daniel Hemric advanced to Q3 for the second straight week and ended up ninth. Alongside him was series points leader Joey Logano who is fresh off his win last weekend at Las Vegas.

Session one saw some fist-to-cuffs as a fight broke out on pit road between Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell. Suarez was dismayed about McDowell obstructing his qualifying run on the track.

The pair will start alongside each other on row 14, 27th adn 28th respectively.



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