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Logano tops Bell in Southern 500 qualifying at Darlington

Logano, who won from pole at Darlington earlier this year, had to watch as several drivers challenged his fast time late in the session.

None were closer than Christopher Bell, who came just 0.009s shy of stealing away the top spot.

"I like winning a lot," Logano said after winning pole. "That's what we come here to do. When you fire off in the playoffs you want to have a good start and this pit stall here is so important. It really kind of helped us win the race in the spring. I'm super-proud of this team and continuing the run that we're on. Got to keep it rolling."

William Byron was third, Tyler Reddick fourth, and Kyle Busch fifth.

Austin Cindric, Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Michael McDowell rounded out the top-ten.

Round 1 / Group A

While reigning champion Larson shot up to the top of the leaderboard, his teammate Chase Elliott struggled and failed to crack the Fast 5.

Logano eventually eclipsed Larson's time, leading Group A drivers. They were joined in the final round of qualifying by Wallace, Cindric and  Blaney -- all three Penske cars advancing.

Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe, and Elliott were the three playoff drivers who failed to advance.

Round 2 / Group B

McDowell went out and set the fastest lap of the session, surprising many. He was later topped by  Bell, but it was still fast enough to make the final round.

Reddick was the last driver to go, and he bumped defending Southern 500 winner Denny Hamlin out of the Fast 5. Bell, Byron, Busch, McDowell and Reddick all advanced.

Bowman got into the wall during his run, costing him a good deal of time.

He was among several playoff drivers failed to advance including Hamlin, Ross Chastain, Austin Dillon, and Daniel Suarez, who did not put down a lap as part of a penalty for three inspection failures.

Hamlin will start 11th on the grid with Chastain 12th, Dillon 13th, Bowman 16th, Harvick 18th, Briscoe 19th, Elliott 23rd, and Suarez 36th.

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