Busch takes pole for 2019 Bluegreen Vacations 500

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch took his first pole position of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season in the penultimate race of the playoffs, the Bluegreen Vacations 500, at ISM Raceway.

It had been over a year since Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch took a pole position for a NASCAR Cup Series race, as he last did so for last October’s round of 8 playoff race at Martinsville Speedway.

Busch tripped the clock with a best lap of 140.116 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota on the 1-mile Arizona oval. His first pole of the season was his fourth at Phoenix and the 32nd of his Monster Energy Series career. He’ll be vying for his third straight Phoenix win in Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500.

Joey Logano is set to start second in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford after just missing the pole at 139.752 mph. Denny Hamlin qualified third in the JGR No. 11 Toyota with teammate Martin Truex Jr. winding up fourth. Kyle Larson, #9 Chase Elliott and #4 Kevin Harvick completing a top-seven sweep by playoff-eligible drivers. Ryan Blaney, the final title hopeful in the field, was 10th-fastest.

Both Truex and Harvick have already clinched spots in the Championship 4 field for the title Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones, two playoff drivers who were eliminated following the round of 16, were the highest qualifying non-round of 8 drivers for this race. They qualified in eighth and ninth place in their #1 Chevrolet and #20 Toyota, respectively.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Kyle Busch motors to pole
Kyle Busch motors to pole

Starting Position: 1st

How does starting on the pole help your quest to make the Championship 4?

“It’s obviously a really good starting spot for us and track position is a big deal here. Obviously, it gives us number one pit selection as well, so lots of things that can certainly help us to fire off here to start. Those guys behind us, we know are going to be awfully hungry as well. We just have to see how the race plays out. It puts us in the best possible spot to start off and we’ve got 312 laps to figure it out."

Why was this the first mock run in practive you’ve made this season?

“Honestly, you would have to ask Adam (Stevens, crew chief). I would assume just trying to figure everything out, trying to get a little acclimated to that fast of a lap time and what it takes to make that fast of a lap time. Then also for the guys to adjust on just a few things to make sure our balance was good for qualifying to get the best spot possible. I could say that we made or kind of attemped qualifying runs at speedway races – you try to set your heights and everything for that as well too. That doesn’t matter anyways because we’re always about 30th. Better day today."

Do you feel traffic will be a factor during the race?

“No question, traffic is a big deal. We saw it yesterday in practice. There were times yesterday where I would get stuck behind a couple guys I was following. (Joey) Logano fired off in practice right behind us in the first session and was really good and caught up to us and got by us. He starts right there with us, but I think our car is way better than it was when we unloaded. We made some good adjustments through practice and got the M&M’s Camry hopefully tuned up."

Do you have concerns about possibly being the second place car starting in Homestead after the pole car didn’t get started in the Truck race last night and there was a penalty?

“I guess you always have those scenarios. You try to do the best job you can and be as clean as you can and focus on what you need to do. Playing games is not necessarily one of my strong suits so we just try to go out there and do our job."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]What does it say that this is your first pole this season?

“A couple years ago, we had the most poles when speed in your race car was what it was for the weekend and now you have no idea what speed is in your race car until you get in the races. I think the short tracks though are a little more towards a true tell as to what’s going to happen. The mile-and-a-half stuff is not even close. Good to get a pole obviously and have one in another season and be able to keep going."

Do you think the penalty issued to Bubba Wallace today will impact what drivers do with a flat tire?

“No."

How do you feel about green-white-checkered restarts at ISM Raceway compared to other tracks?

“I think every place is different and I can go down all sorts of different scenarios based off what track you’re at. Here at Phoenix, if you can get a good launch out of the restart zone and get yourself clear by turn one, I would say you have a pretty good opportunity of the race being over. Speedway races, they can end that way too, but they can also develop energy runs from behind and guys can catch up and make moves. Like we saw at Kansas for instance, Denny (Hamlin) was on the inside, I was on the outside and I didn’t get enough push from behind to stay alongside Denny and Denny got clear and it was over by turn one. Nothing else was going to happen. I think that’s kind of what you see with this package a little bit."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Starting Position: 3rd

How was your car earlier in practice?

“Pretty straight forward. We made a mock (qualifying) run in first practice and I think we were second. I think I’m happy somewhere in the top six is a good goal."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Starting Position: 4th

How do you feel about your starting position?

“It will be a good starting spot for sure. I felt okay about our car yesterday. Thought we made some gains on it, and made some more changes on it last night. We’ll see what we can come up with. Looking forward to it."

Are you sending Blake home?

“Yeah, Blake (Harris, car chief) went home to get some work done. He’s getting the Homestead car prepped up and getting it ready."

Is that something your team felt was worth it?

“Blake (Harris, car chief) was here for practice and stuff yesterday, got all his stuff done. From here, we could substitute someone, we couldn’t really substitute somebody for him yesterday. He was a big part of our team. Obviously, that’s why he is going back to work on our car."

Lineup

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M's Toyota 25.693 140.116
2 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 25.760 139.752
3 11 Denny Hamlin (P) FedEx Ground Toyota 25.826 139.394
4 19 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Bass Pro Shops Toyota 25.839 139.324
5 42 Kyle Larson (P) Clover Chevrolet 25.855 139.238
6 9 Chase Elliott (P) NAPA Autocare Center Chevrolet 25.866 139.179
7 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Mobil 1 Ford 25.914 138.921
8 1 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Chevrolet 25.916 138.910
9 20 Erik Jones Interstate Batteries Toyota 25.925 138.862
10 12 Ryan Blaney (P) DEX Imaging Ford 25.945 138.755
11 10 Aric Almirola Eckrich Ford 25.972 138.611
12 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 25.989 138.520
13 14 Clint Bowyer One Cure Ford 26.008 138.419
14 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 26.021 138.350
15 41 Daniel Suarez Haas Automation Ford 26.062 138.132
16 95 Matt DiBenedetto Dumont Jets Toyota 26.080 138.037
17 37 Chris Buescher Maxwell House Chevrolet 26.091 137.979
18 24 William Byron Hertz Chevrolet 26.132 137.762
19 21 Paul Menard Menards/Maytag Ford 26.179 137.515
20 6 Ryan Newman Mazola Ford 26.206 137.373
21 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 26.263 137.075
22 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 26.268 137.049
23 43 Bubba Wallace United States Air Force Chevrolet 26.278 136.997
24 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. NOS Energy Ford 26.288 136.945
25 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger Chevrolet 26.330 136.726
26 36 John Hunter Nemechek(i) Yanmar/Martin Generators Ford 26.351 136.617
27 8 Daniel Hemric # Cat Large Dozers Chevrolet 26.360 136.571
28 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 26.423 136.245
29 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Military Chevrolet 26.560 135.542
30 38 David Ragan Mannington Commercial Ford 26.586 135.410
31 32 Corey LaJoie Bluegreen Vacations Ford 26.600 135.338
32 15 Ross Chastain(i) Chevrolet 26.933 133.665
33 00 Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 26.993 133.368
34 52 Bayley Currey(i) Pit Boss Grills Chevrolet 27.042 133.126
35 51 Garrett Smithley(i) Jacob Companies Chevrolet 27.149 132.602
36 27 Joe Nemechek(i) VIPRacingExperience.com Chevrolet 27.357 131.593
37 77 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 27.834 129.338
38 66 Joey Gase(i) Fan Memories at WGI Toyota 27.903 129.018
39 53 JJ Yeley(i) Factor One Source Pharmacy Ford 0.000 0.000

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