Kyle Busch wins Pole at Dover

Kyle Busch will start from pole Sunday
Kyle Busch will start on the pole in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

If Joe Gibbs Racing isn’t back, it’s hard to say what “back" is.

Kyle Busch put his No. 18 JGR Toyota on the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), edging favorite son Martin Truex Jr. for the top starting spot by .011 seconds.

With JGR teammates Daniel Suarez (158.346 mph) earning a career-best third starting spot and Matt Kenseth (158.211 mph) qualifying fourth, the Gibbs cars appear ready to build on the momentum they gathered during Speedweeks at Charlotte, where Busch won the Monster Energy All-Star Race and finished second in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

“To sit on the pole here means a little bit for us – it gives us a really good pit selection for Sunday and, more importantly, just gives us the track position right off the bat," said Busch, who won his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at Dover and the 20th of his career with a lap at 158.954 mph (22.648 seconds).

“We know the 78 car (Truex said) is going to be fast – they always are – and one of the guys we’re going to have to race against. There’s going to be many others that are starting farther back that we’ll be racing against, too, before the end of the day, but we’ll work on our Dogs Rule Pedigree Camry tomorrow in practice and make sure we get a good race setup underneath us, so we can hopefully stay up front."

Truex (158.877 mph), the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader, qualified second by a razor-thin margin, even though he had an extra half-lap on his tires, having aborted his opening run in the first round of knockout qualifying after his car twitched off the corner.

“Yeah, I screwed up a little bit that first round and got loose going into (Turn 2) and aborted, and then we had to make a re-run," Truex said. “Maybe cost us half a tenth eventually on our tires, but I don’t think it really did anything. So all in all it was good. Just trying to get it all out the last round.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]“You’ve got be aggressive. You’ve got to charge and I just overcharged the entry to (Turn) 3 just a hair and lost a little time there, but all in all it was a good day for the Furniture Row Toyota."

Kyle Larson was fifth fastest with the top Chevrolet in the final round, and Kurt Busch in sixth had the quickest Ford in the session. Austin Dillon, last week’s Coca-Cola 600 winner, qualified ninth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. nailed down the 11th starting spot to lead the Hendrick Motorsports contingent.

Looking for his 11th victory at the Monster Mile, Jimmie Johnson will start 14th after failing to reach the final round.

“Today was pretty challenging in the practice session trying to find the right balance," Johnson said. “Just got off a little there. We got it closer for qualifying here, but just not enough speed to transfer.

“We’re trying. Qualifying is very important to us. We’re very aware of that. It is just not suiting us this year. This is my favorite track, and I know come race time we will be just fine."

Qualifying Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 18 Kyle Busch Pedigree Petcare Toyota 22.648 158.954
2 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota 22.659 158.877
3 19 Daniel Suarez # STANLEY Toyota 22.735 158.346
4 20 Matt Kenseth ToyotaCare Toyota 22.753 158.221
5 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 22.759 158.179
6 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford 22.764 158.144
7 77 Erik Jones # 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota 22.831 157.680
8 2 Brad Keselowski Wurth Ford 22.874 157.384
9 3 Austin Dillon AAA Chevrolet 22.914 157.109
10 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 22.925 157.034
11 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Chevrolet 23.037 156.270
12 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Little Hug Ford 23.077 155.999
13 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 22.836 157.646
14 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 22.851 157.542
15 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 22.865 157.446
16 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Chevrolet 22.881 157.336
17 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 22.887 157.295
18 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 22.892 157.260
19 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet 22.907 157.157
20 5 Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet 22.928 157.013
21 13 Ty Dillon # GEICO Chevrolet 22.968 156.740
22 14 Clint Bowyer Haas Automation Ford 22.978 156.672
23 27 Paul Menard Duracell/Menards Chevrolet 23.011 156.447
24 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 23.015 156.420
25 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Kappa Ford 23.017 156.406
26 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 23.042 156.236
27 34 Landon Cassill Love's Travel Stops Ford 23.047 156.203
28 95 Michael McDowell WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 23.067 156.067
29 37 Chris Buescher Maxwell House Max Chevrolet 23.120 155.709
30 43 Regan Smith(i) Smithfield Ford 23.136 155.602
31 10 Danica Patrick Aspen Dental Ford 23.162 155.427
32 23 Gray Gaulding # Addiction Campuses Toyota 23.269 154.712
33 38 David Ragan Overton's Ford 23.288 154.586
34 83 Ryan Sieg(i) JAS Expedtited Trucking Toyota 23.514 153.100
35 72 Cole Whitt Chevrolet 23.696 151.924
36 15 Ross Chastain(i) DelawareOfficeofHwySftyPrtctYrMln Chev 23.738 151.656
37 66 Timmy Hill(i) Chevrolet 23.864 150.855
38 51 Cody Ware ECU Pirates Chevrolet 23.988 150.075
39 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Hulu Chevrolet 24.036 149.775

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