Qualifying report

NASCAR Cup Chicago: Hamlin snags pole, van Gisbergen takes third

NASCAR Cup veteran Denny Hamlin edged his 23XI Racing driver Tyler Reddick for the pole in Sunday’s inaugural Chicago street race as series returnee Jenson Button set the eighth-fastest time.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Yahoo! Toyota Camry

Three-time Australian Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen (Trackhouse Racing) had posted the fastest average speed as all 10 cars took to the track in the last minute of Saturday’s final round of qualifying.

NASCAR debutant van Gisbergen actually improved on his speed, but so did the Toyotas of Reddick and his 23XI co-owner Hamlin. The three-time Daytona 500 winner's wicked fast lap of 1m28.435s – the fastest registered of the day so far – gave him the top starting position in Sunday’s race.

The pole is Hamlin’s third of the 2023 season and second consecutive on a road/street course after he paced qualifying at Sonoma. It’s also the 39th of his career.

Sunday’s race on the 2.2-mile, 12-turn course through the Grant Park area of downtown Chicago will be the first on a street course in the 75-year history of the Cup series.

“It’s such a testament to these guys,” Hamlin said of his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team. “They did such a great job preparing me for these things. I also have to give a lot of credit to 23XI (Racing) for helping me to get better.

“It’s a lot of fun when you can have days like today. Our car is super-strong.”

Hamlin called the course “very, very good and raceable”.

Van Gisbergen is making his NASCAR Cup debut this weekend

Van Gisbergen is making his NASCAR Cup debut this weekend

“I think there are going to be a ton of passing zones. I was sceptical, I really was,” he said.

“Who knows how it races, but I just feel like the town has been very welcoming to us. Everyone we’ve seen walking down the street has been excited about the race.”

Reddick ended up just 0.044s slower while van Gisbergen – who was fastest in practice on Saturday – third (89.403 mph) beat the second JGR Toyota of Christopher Bell in fourth and his own team-mate Daniel Suarez in fifth.

On his second outing in the Cup Series after contesting the Circuit of the Americas round earlier this year, 2009 F1 world champion Button ended up eighth in his Stewart-Haas Ford. 

That slotted him in behind leading Ford runner Michael McDowell and 2021 Cup champion Kyle Larson's Hendrick Chevy. 

Defending Cup champion Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger completed the top 10.

NASCAR Cup Chicago: Top 10 shootout results 

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap
1 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 1'28.435  
2 45 United States Tyler Reddick Toyota 1'28.479 0.044
3 91 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Chevrolet 1'28.588 0.153
4 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 1'29.224 0.789
5 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 1'29.322 0.887
6 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 1'29.328 0.893
7 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 1'29.512 1.077
8 15 United Kingdom Jenson Button Ford 1'29.571 1.136
9 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 1'30.219 1.784
10 16 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 1'30.283 1.848

Round 1 / Group A

A rash of last-mite fast lap in the 15-minute session shuffled the lineup as Suarez topped the speed chart with an average lap speed of 89.234 mph.

Larson ended up second-fastest (88.701 mph) and Reddick third (88.618 mph).

Button and Allmendinger – who took the green flag just as time expired – also advanced to the final round of qualifying.

Among those who failed to advance were Alex Bowman, Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch, William Byron, and Nashville winner Ross Chastain.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap
1 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 1'28.755  
2 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 1'29.289 0.534
3 45 United States Tyler Reddick Toyota 1'29.372 0.617
4 15 United Kingdom Jenson Button Ford 1'29.420 0.665
5 16 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 1'29.488 0.733
6 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 1'29.617 0.862
7 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 1'29.667 0.912
8 8 United States Kyle Busch Chevrolet 1'29.805 1.050
9 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 1'30.046 1.291
10 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 1'30.169 1.414
11 42 United States Noah Gragson Chevrolet 1'30.225 1.470
12 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 1'30.232 1.477
13 38 United States Todd Gilliland Ford 1'30.235 1.480
14 41 United States Ryan Preece Ford 1'30.408 1.653
15 51 United States Andy Lally Ford 1'30.575 1.820
16 21 United States Harrison Burton Ford 1'30.759 2.004
17 1 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 1'30.856 2.101
18 31 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet    

Round 1 / Group B

Hamlin set the pace early in the second 15-minute session with an average lap speed of 89.624 mph.

Van Gisbergen ended up second-fastest (88.482 mph) in what turned out to be his only attempt in the final minutes and Bell was third (88.026 mph).

McDowell and Logano rounded out the top five and advanced to the final round.

Among those who failed to advance were Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Ty Gibbs, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney.

With three minutes remaining in the session, Elliott wrecked hard in Turn 8 and did significant damage to his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

With Elliott came to a halt on track, NASCAR had to display a red flag, which halted van Gisbergen’s first attempt at a hot lap, but he was able to get another one completed in the final four minutes.

As time expired, Harvick slammed into the Turn 1 wall and did significant damage to his SHR Ford.

Both Harvick and Elliott will move to backup cars and will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap
1 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 1'28.369  
2 91 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Chevrolet 1'28.509 0.140
3 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 1'28.963 0.594
4 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 1'29.046 0.677
5 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 1'29.242 0.873
6 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 1'29.404 1.035
7 54 Ty Gibbs Toyota 1'29.613 1.244
8 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 1'29.687 1.318
9 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 1'29.687 1.318
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 1'29.756 1.387
11 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 1'29.859 1.490
12 6 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 1'29.878 1.509
13 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 1'30.283 1.914
14 78 United States Josh Bilicki Chevrolet 1'30.331 1.962
15 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 1'30.521 2.152
16 2 United States Austin Cindric Ford 1'30.718 2.349
17 77 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 1'30.799 2.430
18 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 1'30.980 2.611
19 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet    

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