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Busch knocks Gordon off pole for All-Star race

by Pete McCole
Friday, May 16, 2008

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With the pole Kyle Busch remains on a roll
Rhonda McCole/AutoRacing1
Kyle Busch’s winning streak continued Friday night as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader captured the pole for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Busch’s speed of 132.835 mph in the two-lap, four-tire pit stop format was enough to knock Jeff Gordon off the pole, giving Busch his first pole in just his third start in NASCAR’s All-Star event.

Gordon held onto second spot, followed by Kurt Busch, Martin Truex, Jr. and Greg Biffle.

“My team did such an awesome job,” said Busch. “They gave me a great car that ran three laps and they gave me a great pit stop. They were solid on pit road and that’s what you need in this kind of deal.

“I was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in a race car getting ready to go out there for qualifying here today. Not really knowing what to expect, knowing that we had a great race car, knowing that if we didn’t hit our marks and do everything right – myself, the crew, the car. I thought I got caught speeding there. Fortunately for me, I thought I messed up, but I came out of it okay in the end.”

Busch’s All-Star pole was his second of the day after capturing the top spot for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race to be run Friday night following all star qualifying.

Busch has been the driver on the hottest streak this season, winning three races so far this season, including last weekend’s dominating victory at Darlington.

Kyle Busch's crew services his car
Rhonda McCole/AutoRacing1
Busch has also been NASCAR’s least popular driver, drawing the ire of fans for his on-track incidents as well as his mocking behavior towards the fans.

None of that mattered after Friday’s qualifying, as Busch’s sights were set on winning the truck series race and winning the All-Star to try for a weekend sweep.

“Momentum is everything in this sport. When you feel like everything is on your side, it keeps going that way,” said Busch. “We are out there to do our best, to perform at our maximum, and whatever that gives us on a given day, we get, and so far today it was obviously the top spot for tomorrow’s race.”

Denny Hamlin proved the only drama among the 21 qualifiers. After his car refused to fire up, Hamlin finally got underway but spun out trying to slow down to pit road speed for his pit stop.

Elliott Sadler won the pole for the Sprint Showdown, a two-segment, 40-lap race which will be held prior to the All-Star race on Saturday. Brian Vickers, David Ragan, A.J. Allmendinger and Robby Gordon made up the rest of the top five finishers.

The top two finishers in the Sprint Showdown will advance to the All-Star race along with a driver voted in by the fans to complete the 24-car field.

Results

POS

CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 44.278 121.956 Leader
2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 44.084 122.494 -0.538
3 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Pennzoil Platinum 43.945 122.882 -0.926
4 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 43.847 123.157 -1.201
5 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 43.786 123.328 -1.372
6 16 Greg Biffle Ford DISH Network 43.758 123.406 -1.450
7 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 43.713 123.533 -1.577
8 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 43.608 123.830 -1.874
9 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Alltel 43.486 124.179 -2.223
10 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 43.447 124.288 -2.332
11 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 43.337 124.605 -2.649
12 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Nat'l Guard Citizen Soldier / AMP Energy 43.313 124.674 -2.718
13 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 43.264 124.816 -2.860
14 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 43.211 124.969 -3.013
15 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 43.175 125.072 -3.116
16 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 43.014 125.539 -3.583
17 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT NANO Technology 42.872 125.957 -4.001
18 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 42.675 126.539 -4.583
19 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Wrigley's Juicy Fruit 42.472 127.143 -5.187
20 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 40.729 132.582 -10.626
21 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 39.246 137.594 -15.638

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