MENCS: Ryan Blaney Scores Can-Am 500 Pole at Phoenix

Ryan Blaney will start on the pole at Phoenix Raceway for the Can-Am 500 on Sunday. Blaney, piloting the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, posted a 26.098, 137.942 mph to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole.

Blaney enters the weekend in a must-win situation in order to make the Final Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week. The young racer sits 17 Playoff points behind Brad Keselowski for that final spot.

Blaney’s earlier pole came in May at Kansas Speedway. The No. 21 Ford led the field for 83 of the 267 circuits and went on to finish fourth. In addition to his win at Pocono Raceway, Blaney holds four top five and 14 top 10 finishes through 34 races in 2017.

Denny Hamlin, another driver looking to get into the Final Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will start beside Blaney in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota. Hamlin posted a 26.099, 137.936 mph lap in the final round of knockout qualifying.

The Virginia native enters the weekend sitting 12 Playoff points behind Brad Keselowski.

Hamlin comes into Phoenix with two victories, 15 top five and 21 top 10 finishes.

Kyle Larson will round out the top-three starters on Sunday. Larson, the highest qualifying non-playoff driver, posted a 26.101, 137.926 mph to earn the third-place starting spot.

Playoff drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will round out the top-five drivers on Sunday.

Playoff drivers further back inside the top 10 include Kevin Harvick in sixth and Kyle Busch in eighth. Jimmie Johnson, who will be starting 12th, and Brad Keselowski, in 16th, are the only two Playoff contenders that will start the Can-Am 500 outside the top 10.

There were no on-track incidents throughout the three rounds of knockout qualifying.

With 40 drivers appearing on the weekend entry list, there were no DNQs.

Brett Winningham
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