NASCAR starting lineup at Las Vegas: Erik Jones wins pole for first playoff race

Erik Jones is in a great position to make a run at winning the South Point 400 (3 p.m. ET Sunday, NBCSN), the first race of NASCAR’s 2018 playoffs, after earning the pole position Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano was close behind him in second, while Denny Hamlin qualified in the third position.

Jones had a good first round, but he really found his bearings in the second round. He posted the fastest time on track in that stage. He carried that momentum on into the final round.

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“I knew we had a good car in practice, I didn’t know if we were going to have the speed to get the pole, but the track kind of came to us,” Jones told NBCSN after his run. “I figured I knew what we were going to need to do adjustment-wise and so did Chris (Gayle, Jones’ crew chief) and we were just able to get the Dewalt Camry the way it needed to be and put together a really good lap.”

Starting up front in this race is vital. The last two winners of the race (Kevin Harvick, 2018, Martin Truex Jr. 2017) have come from the front row.

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Kyle Busch will start in fourth while Harvick, who won the spring Vegas race this year, will start fifth.

Playoff drivers Brad Keselowski (13th), Clint Bowyer (15th), Aric Almirola (16th), Jimmie Johnson (17th) and Austin Dillon (18th) were unable to advance past the second round.

NASCAR starting lineup for the South Point 400

1. Erik Jones
2. Joey Logano
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kyle Busch
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Ryan Blaney
7. Chase Elliott
8. Kurt Busch
9. Alex Bowman
10. Martin Truex Je.
11. Kyle Larson
12. Jamie McMurray
13. Brad Keselowski
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15. Clint Bowyer
16. Aric Almirola
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. Austin Dillon
19. Daniel Suarez
20. Paul Menard
21. William Byron
22. Ryan Newman
23. Trevor Bayne
24. Michael McDowell
25. Regan Smith
26. Matt DiBenedetto
27. David Ragan
28. Chris Buescher
29. AJ Allmendinger
30. Ty Dillon
31. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.
32. Corey Lajoie
33. Kyle Weatherman
34. Ross Chastain
35. Jeffrey Earnhardt
36. JJ Yeley
37. Landon Cassill
38. BJ McLeod
39. Timmy Hill
40. Reed Sorenson