Blaney was seventh fastest in the opening practice session with a best lap at 192.356 miles per hour. Then during qualifying he was 15th in the first of three rounds with a lap at 192.280 mph, assuring that he would advance to Round Two.
After crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team made some adjustments for the second round, Blaney ran a lap at 194.147 mph, the fastest of the 24 drivers who advanced from the first round and the fastest speed turned by any driver in the three sessions.
In the run for the pole, Blaney was third fastest with a lap at 193.410 mph, earning him the third starting spot for Sunday.
It was Blaney’s best qualifying effort since a third-place start at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015, and the best qualifying run on an intermediate track by the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team since Elliott Sadler won the outside pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2002.
Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments that what pleased him most was the team’s consistent performance from the start of the day to the finish.
“I thought we made good improvements from practice and that was nice,” he said. “The first round we weren’t great. The second round we got really good.
“[The Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew] made a good adjustment on that one.”
Blaney appeared on pace to win the pole in the third qualifying round before losing a bit of speed at the end of his lap.
“The third round I thought we had it through [Turns] One and Two, and then we got held up by traffic in Three and Four,” he said. “I think we were close. We showed speed in our car. We go to work [Saturday] and see what we have in the race. Starting third isn’t bad.
“We’ll try to improve on that.”
Sunday’s race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 12:30 p.m. (3:30 Eastern Time) with TV coverage on FOX.