FONTANA, Calif. – In the most bizarre Pole Busch Pole qualifying session in the round of 16, Austin Dillon won first place in the Auto Club 400 on Friday afternoon.
Dillon won his fourth career pole position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on his second lap in 39.982 seconds (180.081 mph), after no-one on the final lap officially started his lap expiry of the five-minute period.
That's how the striker's pylon came back to the last set of times, setting the top six at their second-round pace and placing Dow Jones, No. 3 Dillon, at the top for the second time at Fontana.
"It was fun there. It goes back to the second round, "said Dillon. "Andy Houston did a great job in making us lose a hole. Our Dow car has been good all day. I had the impression that it was the fastest car here and it feels good to land this pole. It was wild there. Everyone was fighting for that.
"The 18th (Kyle Busch) took off and I was a little behind … and my observer counted the time," added Dillon. "I knew that 45 (seconds) was our idle time off. I just waited until no one wanted to get there. At that time, we knew it was coming back to us.
Dillon was the only driver to break the 40-second mark in the second qualifying round.
After a lap of 40.137 seconds with his # 4 Jimmy John's Ford in the second round, Kevin Harvick will join Dillon in first place in Sunday's 400-mile race.
Aric Almirola and ISM Raceway winner, Kyle Busch, will share the second row of the grid on Sunday. The reigning champion of the series, Joey Logano, completes the top five.
Denny Hamlin, Daytona 500 winner, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson, six-time winner of Fontana, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the remainder of the dozen heads.
Brad Keselowski (40.448 / 178.006) was the first driver below the finish line on the second lap and will start 13th in the No. 2 Ford Wurth on Sunday.
Other notable midfielders include Kyle Larson, winner of Fontana in 2017 (15th), rookie Daniel Hemric (17th), Kurt Busch (21st) and Alex Bowman (23rd).
The winner of the title race, Martin Truex Jr., did not manage to leave the first lap and will finish 27th after being stopped by Cody Ware during his qualifying round.
"He (Ware) ran the last corner on turns three and four, and that's where I wanted to be," Truex noted. "I was hoping he would go high, since he had just come out of the stands, to regain his momentum as usual." He just missed the bottom and that obviously hurt our speed after cornering four.
"It's unfortunate, we missed it today from the carrier," said Truex, "We were pretty tight in practice and we were far too loose on both sides. Friday, but I know we'll be right tomorrow, we'll have a few cars to go through on Sunday, but I know we can do it. "
To view the complete start list, go to the next page.