NASCAR Cup COTA: Byron earns pole, Raikkonen and Button mid-pack - Motor Informed

NASCAR Cup COTA: Byron earns pole, Raikkonen and Button mid-pack

Raikkonen and Button, the F1 world champions of 2007 and 2009, will begin 22nd and 24th respectively for the primary NASCAR highway course of the season, whereas sportscar racer Jordan Taylor starred on his first outing subbing for the injured Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports by setting the fourth-quickest time.   

23XI Racing Toyota driver Tyler Reddick had topped Group B qualifying within the first spherical on Saturday with a monitor report lap of 2m10.305s, however wasn’t capable of repeat the efficiency within the remaining spherical as Hendrick Chevrolet driver Byron earned his first pole of the 2023 season with a 2m10.760s lap.

Reddick ended up zero.138s in arrears with the second quickest time, a 2m10.898s, whereas former sportscar racer Austin Cindric (Penske Ford) showcased his highway racing skill with third – albeit zero.592s slower than Byron.

Corvette Racing’s IMSA SportsCar Championship ace Taylor shone on his NASCAR debut to make it two Hendrick automobiles within the high 4, as Raikkonen’s Trackhouse Racing team-mate Daniel Suarez pipped the third Hendrick Chevrolet of Alex Bowman – the latter pair each having their finest laps disallowed for violating monitor limits.

“I don’t know, I used to be simply watching Reddick go on the market and set the tempo,” Byron mentioned when requested how he gained a lot time between the primary and second rounds.

“He’s been so quick all weekend. Simply attempting to proceed to inch up on him.

“We made massive enhancements with the automobile in a single day. I believed that observe session [on Friday] helped us to get a little bit bit higher and get the again of the automobile settled down.

Jordan Taylor, Hendrick Motorsports, UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro

Jordan Taylor, Hendrick Motorsports, UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro

Photograph by: Jared East / NKP / Motorsport Images

“It’s actually enjoyable to get the primary pole of the yr. Clearly, we’ve been on a superb stretch right here of late.

“Tomorrow’s what pays so we simply bought to be there on the finish.”

Raikkonen, making his return to NASCAR after an exploratory foray at Watkins Glen final yr, was 12th quickest within the Group B session in his Trackhouse Chevrolet with a time 2.221s down on Reddick’s quickest effort of the weekend to date. 

Meaning he’ll begin two spots forward of Button, who was simply zero.881s down on Erik Jones in a decent Group A session.

Learn Additionally:

Cup debut “surreal” for Taylor

Reflecting on his first expertise in Cup, 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Taylor admitted he ”felt like I used to be uncontrolled 90 % of the time” throughout observe, however mentioned he “understood what the automobile was doing” so much higher in qualifying.

Taylor is a well-known face amongst Chevrolet NASCAR as he has labored with a number of drivers on their highway racing craft. He has additionally been working with NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports on the event of its Storage 56 entry for this yr’s Le Mans, during which Button will probably be amongst its drivers.

Nonetheless, Taylor had by no means been offered the chance to compete in NASCAR till Hendrick vice chairman and collection legend Jeff Gordon approached him with driving for Elliott in highway course occasions throughout his restoration.

“It was surreal, and truthfully felt surreal till attending to the monitor right here and entering into the automobile in observe,” he mentioned.

“I used to be shaking the entire time till we truly bought to driving. It’s positively an intense expertise.

“Clearly, it’s all rushed and final minute, however the guys have carried out a tremendous job prepping me and getting me as ready as attainable.

“Getting velocity out of the automobile and myself is one factor, I believe the race tomorrow will probably be a complete totally different animal.”

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