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Busch edges Kahne for New Hampshire pole

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Friday, July 13, 2012

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Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch qualified the way he practiced on Friday -- at the top of the chart.

Edging Kasey Kahne by 0.003 seconds and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin by 0.004, Busch won the pole for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a lap at 133.417 mph.

The last of 44 drivers to make a qualifying attempt -- because he was fastest in opening practice -- Busch prevailed in an intensely competitive Friday qualifying session to win his first Coors Light pole award of the season, his first at New Hampshire and the ninth of his career.

Kahne (133.403 mph) will start next to Busch on the front row, with Hamlin (133.399 mph) taking the green flag from the third starting spot in the 19th Cup race of the season. Martin Truex Jr. (133.338 mph) will start fourth, followed by two-time New Hampshire winner Clint Bowyer (133.319 mph).

Ryan Newman qualified sixth, followed by the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Defending Cup champion Tony Stewart, last week's winner at Daytona, starts 10th. Series points leader Matt Kenseth will take the green deep in the field, from the 27th position on the grid.

Busch came perilously close to the outside wall near the end of his money lap but kept his car clean.

"I got in the throttle really early in [Turns] 3 and 4, trying to make speed and was able to finish it," Busch said. "But the car slipped right at the last second when you get to that older asphalt -- it seems like this tire [new from Goodyear for this race] is different from the older tire, where you lose just a pinch of grip -- it slid out right to the cushion point, I guess you'd say. But, no, there's no mark on the car, so it's a good day."

Hamlin posted his lap despite the absence of crew chief Darian Grubb, who is celebrating the birth of his daughter Gabriella, who arrived Monday morning. Mike Wheeler, Hamlin's race engineer, took Grubb's place on the pit box.

Hamlin thought he lost the pole coming to the green on his first qualifying lap.

"Yeah, I thought maybe I could have gotten to the green a little bit better," Hamlin said. "You know your first lap's going to be the money lap, so I typically run into Turn 1 -- really at all race tracks -- a little bit easier and try to make up the ground as I go.

"But with qualifying as tight as it is, you've got to maximize everything to get poles, and obviously that was the difference."

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 133.417 28.548 Leader
2 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 133.403 28.551 -0.003
3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 133.399 28.552 -0.004
4 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Batteries 133.338 28.565 -0.017
5 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 133.319 28.569 -0.021
6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Aspen Dental 133.277 28.578 -0.030
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 133.254 28.583 -0.035
8 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Pepsi Max 133.198 28.595 -0.047
9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard 'An American Salute' / Diet Mountain Dew 133.045 28.628 -0.080
10 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 132.938 28.651 -0.103
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 132.873 28.665 -0.117
12 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser Folds of Honor 132.868 28.666 -0.118
13 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 132.572 28.730 -0.182
14 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 132.549 28.735 -0.187
15 55 Brian Vickers Toyota MyClassicGarage.com / Aaron's 132.425 28.762 -0.214
16 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 132.425 28.762 -0.214
17 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 132.393 28.769 -0.221
18 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Kingsford 132.333 28.782 -0.234
19 34 David Ragan Ford MHP / 8 Hour Alert 132.264 28.797 -0.249
20 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford DEWALT 132.200 28.811 -0.263
21 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal / Lenox 132.186 28.814 -0.266
22 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 132.085 28.836 -0.288
23 43 Aric Almirola Ford U.S. Air Force 131.833 28.891 -0.343
24 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil-AAA 131.556 28.952 -0.404
25 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Wheaties 131.465 28.972 -0.424
26 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet CarportEmpire.com / TMone.com Call Centers in America 131.266 29.016 -0.468
27 17 Matt Kenseth Ford NESN 131.234 29.023 -0.475
28 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / NRA Museum 131.234 29.023 -0.475
29 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 131.184 29.034 -0.486
30 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 130.833 29.112 -0.564
31 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 130.662 29.150 -0.602
32 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport 130.140 29.267 -0.719
33 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 129.834 29.336 -0.788
34 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 129.807 29.342 -0.794
35 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Golden Corral 129.679 29.371 -0.823
36 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 129.525 29.406 -0.858
37 32 Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts 129.318 29.453 -0.905
38 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota Robinson-Blakeney Racing 129.274 29.463 -0.915
39 38 David Gilliland Ford Glory Foods 129.156 29.490 -0.942
40 30 David Stremme Toyota Stock Car Steel and Aluminum 129.094 29.504 -0.956
41 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 128.863 29.557 -1.009
42 179 Kelly Bires Ford Team Kyle / Bestway Disposal 128.515 29.637 -1.089
43 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 128.182 29.714 -1.166
DNQ 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 128.070 29.740 -1.192

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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