CUP: Busch Tops Weather-Shortened Qualifying For Kentucky Pole

Jacob Seelman Cup, Featured 0 Comments

Kyle Busch poses with the Coors Light Pole Award Friday evening at Kentucky Speedway. (NASCAR photo)

SPARTA, Ky. – With weather looming on the horizon, Kyle Busch outran both the rain and the competition to earn his third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole Friday evening at Kentucky Speedway.

Busch posted a track-record time of 28.379 seconds (190.282 mph) in round two of knockout qualifying, earning his third pole of the season and the 22nd of his career behind the wheel of the No. 18 Snickers Toyota.

“Man, this is worthwhile for our team and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Busch, who also won the NASCAR XFINITY Series pole earlier in the day. “The guys have done an amazing job this year at building faster race cars as we’ve gone on this year; we just started out a little behind.”

“We’re right there … so close, having an opportunity to win each and every week. We just need to bust through and get it to happen. The Snickers car this weekend has been fast and I’m looking forward to taking this Toyota Camry to victory lane here in Kentucky.”

Due to lightning in the area after the conclusion of the 10-minute second round, NASCAR officials elected to scrap the final round to clear the grandstands and get both fans and workers to safety.

The weather also postponed the NASCAR XFINITY Series race to Saturday at noon Eastern, setting up a doubleheader day of 700 miles for Busch in the Bluegrass State.

“It’s going to be tough for sure,” Busch said of running two races in one day. “I’m not exactly sure how to handle it yet. It’s certainly not the circumstances I would have liked to have been in, but we got what we got and I’ll try to prepare as best as I can tonight and get as many fluids as I can tonight. Then you just have to make sure you keep drinking and keep the fluids going for tomorrow.”

“It’s going to make for a long day for sure … especially if it’s going to be 95 degrees and hot and sunny during the first one, but it will make the second one at night a little better. Still going to be a long, long day.”

In all three of Busch’s poles this season, fellow Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. has been the man joining him on the front row, this time with a lap of 28.392 seconds (190.194 mph) in his No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota.

Truex starts second looking for his third win of the year, which would tie Jimmie Johnson for most in the series.

Matt Kenseth, who announced earlier in the day that he is unsure of his plans for next season, completed a Toyota trifecta at the front of the field by qualifying third (28.460/189.740).

Jamie McMurray was the fastest Chevrolet in fourth, followed by another Toyota in Denny Hamlin, who timed in fifth overall.

The Fords of Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick were sixth and seventh, respectively, with Johnson, Daniel Suarez, three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott completing the top 12.

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