Defending winner starts from front row today

WATKINS GLEN - Chase Elliott picked up exactly where he left off in competitive races at Watkins Glen International Saturday by qualifying for the pole for today's Go Bowling at The Glen.

Elliott edged out Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron by 0.083 seconds to claim pole position at today's Go Bowling at The Glen. Elliott recorded a fast lap of 69.287 seconds (127.297 mph), topping Byron's best effort of 69.370 seconds (126.901 mph).

Elliott picked up his first career win his 99th career start last season, after qualifying third.

"Qualifying well is a big thing here, I think it's going to be a hard thing to do to pass those top five or six guys," said Elliott. "Just to be amongst that crowd is key and having to have a nice pit road selection to pit by yourself and eliminate mistakes is the goal."

The 23-year-old has one thing he is keying in on as he gets ready for the race today.

"I felt like we needed to work on our long run pace," said Elliott. "To me, that's the biggest question going into (today's race)."

Kyle Busch (126.976 mph) will start third, while former race-winner Martin Truex Jr. (126.861 mph) will be fourth and Kyle Larson (126.779 mph) round out the top-5.

Alex Bowman, who recorded the fastest lap in the early practice, finished 17th missing the final round of qualifying in which the top 12 drivers battled for the pole.

Also missing the second round of qualifying were notables such as Kevin Harvick (14th), Joey Logano (21st) and Daniel Suarez (18th).