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William Byron becomes youngest pole winner for Coca-Cola 600

Brendan Marks, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

CONCORD, N.C. -- Not bad for 21 years old, huh?

On Thursday, Charlotte native William Byron won the pole for the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Byron makes history as the youngest driver to ever win the pole for the crown jewel race.

"This is a dream come true," Byron said after qualifying. "Obviously I grew up in Charlotte and came to this race every year. So, it's a dream come true to qualify on the pole with Hendrick Motorsports just across the street and all the hard work and everybody at Chevrolet giving us fast race cars.

"I can't think of a better way to start the weekend."

Byron also won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, and he's sat on the front row for three other races, too.

Behind Byron, Aric Almirola qualified second and reigning 600 champion Kyle Busch came third. Austin Dillon, who won the 600 in 2017, and Kevin Harvick, who has won the race twice, rounded out the top 5 in fourth and fifth, respectively.

 

But beyond qualifying, there was plenty of off-track action at CMS on Thursday. The highlights:

-- NASCAR revealed its 2020 Hall of Fame class on Wednesday, and as the reigning Cup Series champion, Joey Logano got to be part of the voting conversation -- although, that didn't mean he necessary felt like it was his place to do so.

"I felt a little out of place, to be honest with you," he said. "There were some legends in that room and some real Hall of Famers that have been around for a long time. I really enjoyed that part and listening to everybody's reasoning. Everyone has the opportunity to stand up and say why they think a particular person belongs in the Hall of Fame, and everyone has different reasonings why."

-- Hall of Fame driver and longtime Fox Sports broadcaster Darrell Waltrip announced his retirement from NASCAR earlier this year, meaning this will be his final race at Charlotte. Waltrip spoke to the Observer on Wednesday about coming to the end of his time in racing before addressing it Thursday in the media center at the speedway.

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