Bell, who participated in a Goodyear tire test at the track earlier this season, went out late in the final round of Saturday’s qualifying and his average lap speed of 124.781 mph held up to give him the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race.
Bell’s first victory of the 2022 season came at New Hampshire a year ago after starting fifth.
This is his initial pole position of the 2023 season and the fifth one he has achieved throughout his career.
“That was a challenging experience,” Bell expressed. “Back in April, we conducted a tire test under much cooler conditions, and the cars had a substantial amount of traction. This was my initial encounter with the lower downforce package, and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of grip we had.”
“From July of last year to July of this year, there has been a significant and challenging shift in these elements. They are moving unpredictably and pose difficulties while driving. Despite this, I had an enjoyable experience and feel a great sense of pride for the No. 20 team.”
Martin Truex Jr., Bell’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished with the second-fastest time (124.752 mph) and will start alongside him on the front row.
The two Toyotas will be followed by three Fords as Aric Almirola was third, Joey Logano fourth and Ryan Blaney fifth.
The top-10 starting lineup is made up of Tyler Reddick, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch.
During his last qualifying attempt, Busch’s No. 8 Chevrolet spun out in Turn 1 and collided with the wall.
Busch and his team at Richard Childress Racing made the decision to switch to a spare car, resulting in him having to begin Sunday’s race from the back of the pack.
Round 1 / Group A
Truex led the way in the first group with an average lap speed of 125.393 mph.
Keselowski surprisingly secured the second-fastest position with a speed of 124.744 mph, while Wallace came in third with a speed of 124.609 mph.
Reddick and Busch, who had collided with the wall during Saturday’s practice, also progressed to the final round. They managed to secure their spot as the last participants to make a run.
“This location is consistently challenging,” expressed Busch. “One must cautiously navigate and maneuver through this area. That’s why it’s difficult to overtake opponents here.”
Among those who failed to advance to the final round were Michael McDowell – who was fastest in Saturday’s practice, Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman and Austin Cindric.
Round 1 / Group B
Logano ended up with the fastest average lap speed in Group B at 125.628 mph.
Almirola was second-fastest (125.195 mph) and Bell – who won this race a year ago – was third (125.187 mph).
Byron and Blaney also progressed to the final round of qualifying.
Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, along with Daniel Suarez and Kevin Harvick, were among the individuals who did not progress in the competition, according to Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
Ty Gibbs had difficulty controlling his car during his qualifying attempt, which affected his ability to finish the lap smoothly. As a result, he will start in the 36th position for Sunday’s race.