Bell Sweeps Truck Qualifying At Phoenix

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Christopher Bell won the pole for the Lucas Oil 150 Friday at Phoenix Raceway. (NASCAR photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Christopher Bell completed a clean sweep of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying Friday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway to score the pole for the penultimate race of the season.

The championship favorite and current points leader went fastest in all three knockout rounds, but saved his best lap for last, posting a time of 26.275 seconds (137.012 mph) in the No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra to garner his fifth pole of the season.

With track position at a premium in the desert, Bell will look to garner his sixth win of the year and lock himself into the Championship 4 when the green flag falls for the Lucas Oil 150.

“Starting up front here is huge,” said Bell, who led the field by more than a quarter-second at the end of qualifying. “This place is extremely aero-dependent, so track position is everything here. I know I say it time-and-time again, but I can’t say enough about my crew chief (Rudy Fugle). It’s incredible what he can do to these race trucks and how he can go fast with driver after driver after driver. It’s just an honor to drive for him.”

Bell’s teammate Noah Gragson completed a Kyle Busch Motorsports sweep of the front row in qualifying, taking the No. 18 Switch Toyota Tundra to a lap of 26.545 seconds (135.619 mph) in the third and final round.

“Kyle Busch Motorsports has really been fast all day through practice and qualifying, so we just need to execute during the race,” said Gragson. “Starting up front definitely helps. I was in this race last year making my debut, and it’s really hard to pass here, as I learned. I definitely have a lot more experience this year and I’m very fortunate to be running with this team.”

“Starting on the front row … I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m thankful for the opportunity and now we just have to go out-race them (Bell and company) now.”

Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and Todd Gilliland completed a Toyota sweep of the top five, followed by John Hunter Nemechek’s Chevrolet and Austin Cindric’s Ford.

Five of the six playoff drivers ended the final round inside the top seven on the grid.

Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger were eighth and ninth, respectively, followed by Johnny Sauter, who completed the top 10 and was the slowest of the six championship contenders.

Ryan Truex and Stewart Friesen filled out the first six rows and made up the last of the dozen drivers who advanced through all three rounds of qualifying.

Cody Coughlin was the first driver who failed to make the final knockout round, starting 13th in the No. 13 RIDE TV/JEGS.com Toyota Tundra.

“It isn’t a great starting spot, but it’s not the worst,” said Coughlin. “That’s been the story of our year, though … close but no cigar. We made a lot of good adjustments in practice and that was the fastest we’ve run all day, so we’ll see what happens when the sun goes down tonight.”

Other notables starting from the middle of the pack include Dalton Sargeant (14th), Kaz Grala (15th), Justin Haley (16th) and Robby Lyons (20th), who is making his Truck Series debut in Friday night’s race.

The Lucas Oil 150 takes the green flag at 8:30 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…

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