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Ryan Blaney will lead the field to the starting line in Saturday night’s 2017 Go Bowling 400 after posting the best time in the final round of qualifying Friday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. It’s the first pole of the Wood Brothers Racing driver’s career.         

The number of cars unable to pass technical inspection in time to enter the qualifying fray was the other top storyline Friday evening. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne were the most notable names among the 12 teams that never made it onto the track.

Here’s a look at the complete qualifying results for the 11th race of the season:

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Kansas Qualifying
1 Ryan Blaney 21 28.481
2 Joey Logano 22 28.490
3 Martin Truex Jr. 78 28.541
4 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17 28.594
5 Kyle Busch 18 28.648
6 Kurt Busch 41 28.648
7 Denny Hamlin 11 28.680
8 Kevin Harvick 4 28.685
9 Kyle Larson 42 28.731
10 Chase Elliott 24 28.801
11 Austin Dillon 3 28.840
12 Jamie McMurray 1 28.895
Eliminated in Round 2
13 Aric Almirola 43 28.712
14 Matt Kenseth 20 28.726
15 Daniel Suarez 19 28.728
16 Trevor Bayne 6 28.744
17 Brad Keselowski 2 28.750
18 Paul Menard 27 28.766
19 Ryan Newman 31 28.775
20 Chris Buescher 37 28.895
21 AJ Allmendinger 47 28.898
22 Ty Dillon 13 29.013
23 Matt DiBenedetto 32 29.103
24 Danica Patrick 10 29.252
Eliminated in Round 1
25 Gray Gaulding 23 29.339
26 Cole Whitt 72 29.783
27 Jeffrey Earnhardt 33 30.313
28 Derrike Cope 55 30.875
29 Jimmie Johnson 48 DNP
30 Clint Bowyer 14 DNP
31 Kasey Kahne 5 DNP
32 Erik Jones 77 DNP
33 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88 DNP
34 David Ragan 38 DNP
35 Michael McDowell 95 DNP
36 Landon Cassill 34 DNP
37 Reed Sorenson 55 DNP
38 Corey LaJoie 83 DNP
39 Timmy Hill 51 DNP
40 Carl Long 66 DNP

Blaney has made a habit of starting near the front all year. He’s started seventh or better in six of the season’s first 10 races. Being able to translate that success into equally strong finishes has been a problem, however, as he’s earned just three top-10 results.

Tim Durr of Fox Sports passed along comments from the 23-year-old rising star, who was surprised his time was good enough to get the top spot.

“I didn’t think I got through that lap that great. I came out with a pretty decent time, and it was enough for it,” Blaney said. “I think we’ve been second three times this year, so that was getting old. It’s so cool to sit on the pole. That’s something I’ve really wanted to do. Qualifying probably isn’t my best suit, but we got better and better, and that’s all we can ask for.”

Earnhardt congratulated Blaney on winning pole position:

Kansas Speedway highlighted him putting his prize to immediate use:

Races where so many contending teams aren’t able to produce qualifying results are always more unpredictable. It brings more variables into play, especially in terms of the potential for early wrecks as everyone tries to navigate through the field.

Johnson in particular will remain dangerous despite starting deep in the pack. He’s scored three victories and 17 top-10 finishes in 21 career starts at Kansas Speedway, where his average finish of 8.9 is the fourth-best of any track he’s raced on, per Yahoo Sports.

Blaney will be the focus, though. He’s one of the sport’s most promising young drivers, so this is the first of what’s likely to become a double-digit pole total for his career. That said, turning good qualification into a top-five finish on race day is the next step he must take.

The Go Bowling 400 is scheduled for Saturday night at 7:30 ET on Fox Sports 1.

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