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Kyle Larson wins the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series street race in downtown Chicago

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CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Larson has won the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series street race in downtown Chicago, beating Ty Gibbs by one-hundredth of a second.

Larson posted a fast lap of 87.836 seconds in the second round of qualifying on the 12-turn, 2.2-mile course on Saturday, recording a top speed of 90.168 mph. Gibbs was next at 87.846 seconds and 90.158 mph.

Larson is going for his fourth win of the season in his 350th career Cup Series start. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has five poles this year and 21 for his career.

“This year qualifying, I mean racing, too, has been a strong suit, but qualifying, we’ve been able to execute and get five poles to this point,” said Larson, who leads the Cup Series driver standings going into Sunday’s Grant Park 165. “That’s special. So yeah, hopefully, we can keep that up and keep our speed up in the races as well.”

Michael McDowell (90.141 mph) qualified third, followed by Tyler Reddick (89.923) in fourth. Shane van Gisbergen (89.813) rounded out the top five after he won the race last year.

“We’re in for a battle tomorrow,” McDowell said, “and we’ve got a fast car and a good opportunity to try to execute and put ourselves in position to win.”

Larson also had the fastest car in practice. He finished fourth in the inaugural race a year ago.

He also was racing in the Xfinity Series on Saturday in an effort to learn more about a tricky, unfamiliar course.

“I feel more in rhythm in the Cup car, for sure,” he said. “It’s just got a more equal balance I think throughout most of the corners. The Xfinity car, just smaller tires and stuff, it’s just less grip. So a little more edge on that.”


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AP Sports Writer