Kurt Busch wins Vegas pole

Busch celebrates with crew chief
Busch celebrates with crew chief

Hometown favorite Kurt Busch roared to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Busch pushed the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet to a fast lap of 196.328 mph, snagging the first starting spot for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The pole position was Busch's second of the season, second at the 1.5-mile Sin City track and 21st of his Sprint Cup career.

"Man, I wasn't going to lift for anything," Busch said. "I was giving it all I had. I'm really proud of the team to help me get to that third round. I was overdriving the car and I needed to settle in and (crew chief) Tony Gibson made a great adjustment in that last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole, but now we've got to go to work tomorrow. I hope we can get the car dialed in for long run speed for Sunday."

Joey Logano qualified for the second starting spot with a best lap of 195.851 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Matt Kenseth qualified third in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Brad Keselowski, Logano's Penske teammate, secured the fourth starting spot with Austin Dillon completing the top five in the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet.

Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner, was sixth-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevy. Four-time Vegas winner Jimmie Johnson, who prevailed last week at Atlanta, landed the 11th starting spot in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, driving a backup Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 after a crash in Thursday testing, qualified ninth.

Carl Edwards failed to advance out of the second of three rounds of elimination-style qualifying after hitting the wall in Turn 2. His Joe Gibbs Racing crew unloaded a reserve car to prepare for Sunday's 400-miler, the third premier-series race of the season.

"It hit hard, bounced up the race track and man, that was it," Edwards said after emerging unhurt.

The crash was to Brian Vickers' detriment. The fill-in driver for the injured Tony Stewart in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevy had a fast lap scrubbed off when the red flag flew for Edwards' incident early in the 10-minute segment. Stewart, back at the track for the second straight week as he recovers from a broken vertebra, was seen with crew chief Mike Bugarewicz arguing the team's case to NASCAR officials on pit road.

The opening 20-minute qualifying session was also marked by a pair of incidents. Jamie McMurray tagged the outside wall at Turn 4's exit with his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet. And Keselowski's crew was forced to change a tire on the Team Penske No. 2 Ford after a piece of stray metal caused a flat. The team was allowed to make the adjustment between rounds without penalty.

Busch, a Las Vegas native, also earned the designation of fastest qualifier with a best lap of 196.378 mph in the opening session, a shade better than his pole-winning lap. Busch's speed eclipsed the former track record of 194.678 mph set by Jeff Gordon at the 1.5-mile venue last March.

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 MONSTER ENERGY/HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – Pole Winner

WAS THAT FAST LAP A LUDICROUS SPEED LAP?
“It was insanely fast. It’s amazing all the detail that goes into qualifying with finding that perfect lap three times out there. My second outing we were way tight and I didn’t know where it came from. (Tony) Gibson, (crew chief) and crew went to town. They just adjusted on it. We gambled and we made that last session, which was great. That was icing on the cake to be able to go out into the third round. I was first or 12th it didn’t matter. Thanks to Haas Automation, Monster Energy, two poles in a row, this is great. This is how you work through an off season and show up to qualify, now we just need to find that speed on the long run. Really proud of everybody at SHR."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]DID IT HELP THAT YOU GUYS WENT AND LOOKED AT THE VIDEO?
“Team communication all the way around. They can hear it in my voice on times when I’m confused by something at this time now they are like ‘okay this is where you need to try to do something different.’ It’s just team work that is what it is. You have to have offense, defense, special teams and I’ve got a great group."

HOW SPECIAL IS IT TO COME BACK THIS YEAR AND GET THE POLE?
“Man, I wasn’t going to lift for anything. I was giving it all I had. I’m really proud of the team to help me get to that third round. I was over driving the car and I needed to settle in and Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a great adjustment in that last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole, but now we’ve got to go to work tomorrow. I hope we can get the car dialed in for long run speed for Sunday."

HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION?
“It’s going to be neat to have that pit stall at the end and just kind of roll off the jack and hopefully beat everybody off pit road if they have done a better job through the race to get ahead of us. We hope to protect our track position all day."

Lineup

Pos. Car # Driver Manufacturer Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Monster Energy / Haas Automation 196.328 27.505 Leader
2 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 195.851 27.572 0.067
3 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota DeWalt 195.78 27.582 0.077
4 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 195.666 27.598 0.093
5 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Dow – Energy & Water / Intellifresh 195.624 27.604 0.099
6 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John's 195.454 27.628 0.123
7 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield 195.291 27.651 0.146
8 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 195.284 27.652 0.147
9 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 195.08 27.681 0.176
10 78 Martin Truex Jr Toyota Furniture Row 194.974 27.696 0.191
11 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Kobalt 193.986 27.837 0.332
12 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Smith’s / Kingsford 193.126 27.961 0.456
13 24 Chase Elliott Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts 194.665 27.74 0.235
14 21 Ryan Blaney Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center 194.658 27.741 0.236
15 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Dutch Boy / Menards 194.356 27.784 0.279
16 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Fastenal Ford Fusion 194.301 27.792 0.287
17 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target 193.889 27.851 0.346
18 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet Nature's Bakery 193.625 27.889 0.384
19 14 Brian Vickers Chevrolet Mobil 1 193.597 27.893 0.388
20 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet Nationwide 193.444 27.915 0.41
21 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Caterpillar 193.334 27.931 0.426
22 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet GEICO 192.933 27.989 0.484
23 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 75 192.795 28.009 0.504
24 19 Carl Edwards Toyota Arris 195.101 27.678 0.173
25 34 Chris Buescher Ford Love’s Travel Stops 193.05 27.972 0.467
26 16 Greg Biffle Ford Cheez-It Ford Fusion 192.933 27.989 0.484
27 38 Landon Cassill Ford MDS Transport 192.754 28.015 0.51
28 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Advocare Ford Fusion 192.726 28.019 0.514
29 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet CESSNA 192.342 28.075 0.57
30 95 Michael McDowell Chevrolet WRL General Contractors 192.02 28.122 0.617
31 23 David Ragan Toyota Dr. Pepper 191.87 28.144 0.639
32 44 Brian Scott Ford Albertsons Co. / White Tail 191.144 28.251 0.746
33 7 Regan Smith Chevrolet Road Rippers Street Beatz Chevrolet 190.873 28.291 0.786
34 83 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Cosmo Motors 190.154 28.398 0.893
35 15 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 5-Hour Energy 189.036 28.566 1.061
36 98 Cole Whitt Toyota Speed Stick Chevy 188.422 28.659 1.154
37 46 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot Flying J 188.409 28.661 1.156
38 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt Ford Can – Am 187.846 28.747 1.242
39 30 Josh Wise Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 185.81 29.062 1.557

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