BRISTOL, Tenn. — Erik Jones’ timing was perfect for first career pole in the NASCAR Cup Series.

The rookie turned a lap at 128.082 mph around the high-banked bullring Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway to take the top starting spot for Saturday night’s race. Jones, who drives for Furniture Row Racing, bumped Kyle Larson from the pole.

Larson qualified second at 128.057 to continue his hot streak. He won Sunday at Michigan, beat Furniture Row teammates Jones and Martin Truex Jr. on the final restart for his third victory of the year.

Kasey Kahne qualified third and was followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott.

Matt Kenseth was fifth, followed by Truex and Denny Hamlin as Toyota drivers took four of the top seven spots.

This is crunch time in the Cup Series because there are just three open spots in the 16-driver playoff field. There are 13 drivers locked into the playoffs by race wins, not including Joey Logano, who won at Richmond but failed inspection, so the victory doesn’t count toward playoff eligibility.

Chase Elliott, Kenseth and Jamie McMurray – all of whom made the playoffs last year – are among the drivers on the bubble and could get into the playoffs on points even if they don’t win one of the next three races. Jones, meanwhile, is among the drivers who need a win to qualify for the playoffs.

“We definitely have to win,” Jones said. “It’s just too big of a deficit with three races to go. I think the pressure is on, but we’ve been handling the pressure really well.”

Elliott, ranked seventh in the standings, is highest among drivers not locked into the playoffs.

“You’re never comfortable,” Elliott said. “We’re certainly in a tight spot. We’re there toward the back. I don’t exactly know 100 percent where we are, but I know we’re one of the last few spots of non-winners that are still in. That’s not a comfortable position to be in, because there is always an opportunity for a guy on the outside to win a race and bump you back another position.”

TRUCKS: Brad Keselowski is closing his team at the end of the season, a decision that in part came down to him losing money on the venture.

Brad Keselowski Racing has fielded trucks since 2008, and more than a dozen young drivers have come through his organization. His team has won nine races and twice contended for the championship. Keselowski fields two full-time Fords – for Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric – and has about 50 employees.

But Keselowski has not turned a profit on his passion, and has said before he loses $1 million a year.

“There wasn’t really one reason, but certainly at some point every business needs to have some profitability,” Keselowski said. “But I never went into it expecting to make money, so I can’t really blame that. Everybody is losing a little, but that was one of the factors. I wouldn’t say it was the only one.”