NSCS: Home-Field Advantage; Kurt Busch Wins Coors Light Pole in Vegas, Sets New Track Record

Kyle Magda Featured, NASCAR, West 0 Comments

LAS VEGAS — Report by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Magda — Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America photo —

Sometimes, there’s no place like home.

Especially for Las Vegas native Kurt Busch.

The 2004 Sprint Cup champ  turned a lap of 27.505 seconds (196.328 mph) to grab the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch’s pole-winning lap didn’t set the track qualifying record, which was broken by the No. 41 Monster Energy Chevrolet during round one with a speed of 196.378 mph (27.498 seconds).

“It was insanely fast, it’s amazing all the detail that goes into qualifying with finding that perfect lap three times out there,” Busch said. “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.”

Busch collects his second Las Vegas pole by starting out front Sunday afternoon. He led the first and third rounds of the session, with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano denying him of three perfect rounds in qualifying.

Keselowski was fastest in the second round with a time of 27.613 seconds (195.56 mph) and ran a faster lap in round three, but was only good enough to slot into fourth in the final rundown. On the other hand, teammate Joey Logano also picked up in the final round and turned a speed of 195.851 mph to start right alongside Kurt Busch once the green flag drops Sunday.

“It was better than last week,” Logano said. “Second is so close. Second always stings the most. I felt like that last run I just – I told Todd that our car was close I just had to want it more. I pushed as hard as I could and got a little tight in one and two and that was enough to give up that speed we needed to get the pole tonight. I am so proud of what this Pennzoil team has done to pick up over last week. Dang it. It is so close. It was a lot of fun out there tonight and we are looking forward to Sunday.”

The strong qualifying run by Logano puts the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford with a clear view out the windshield after starting 27th last weekend at Atlanta. One thing didn’t change in the past two weeks: Kurt Busch is once again on the pole.

Matt Kenseth, Keselowski and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five. Chevrolet had the most cars in the top-10 with four, followed by three each from Ford and Toyota.

Defending race winner Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top-10.

One driver made the final round for the first time in 2016. A.J. Allmendinger put his No. 47 Chevrolet inside the top-12 and final qualifying lap was good enough to start 12th in Sunday’s race. Rookie Chase Elliott missed the cut-off spot by one spot, as the 20-year-old driver faced a similar situation last week at Atlanta.

“I hate that we missed it by one again, Elliott said. “Last week we missed it by one, but we were in the wrong cut off bracket.  At least we missed the top 12 by one this week, not the top 24.  It’s an improvement.  Not perfect, but we are excited about being better than last week.  We will take it and try to get ready for the race.”

Row seven features Elliott and other rookie contender Ryan Blaney for an all-rookie row. All 39 cars made a lap and all will race on Sunday.

Kurt Busch was the only driver to run laps in the 196 mph range in qualifying in both the first and third rounds.

The next time Cup cars hit the track will be for the first of two Saturday practices beginning  at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. local) on FOX Sports 1.


RESULTS: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Coors Light Pole Qualifying; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Mar. 4, 2016

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Austin Dillon
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. Aric Almirola
  8. Kasey Kahne
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Martin Truex Jr.
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. A.J. Allmendinger
  13. Chase Elliott
  14. Ryan Blaney
  15. Paul Menard
  16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  17. Kyle Larson
  18. Danica Patrick
  19. Brian Vickers
  20. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  21. Ryan Newman
  22. Casey Mears
  23. Kyle Busch
  24. Carl Edwards
  25. Chris Buescher
  26. Greg Biffle
  27. Landon Cassill
  28. Trevor Bayne
  29. Jamie McMurray
  30. Michael McDowell
  31. David Ragan
  32. Brian Scott
  33. Regan Smith
  34. Matt DiBenedetto
  35. Clint Bowyer
  36. Cole Whitt
  37. Michael Annett
  38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  39. Josh Wise

DNQ: None

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