LONG POND, Pa. — Kyle Busch was the fastest man again on Friday afternoon, topping Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Pocono Raceway to score his second-straight Coors Light Pole Award.
Busch topped both rounds two and three of knockout qualifying, running a time of 50.237 seconds (179.151 mph) on his final run and scoring his second pole in as many weeks behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&M’s Red-White-&-Blue Toyota.
The pole was Busch’s third at the Tricky Triangle, the 21st of his career and sets him up alongside Martin Truex Jr. in an all-Toyota front row.
“Any week you’re able to qualify first and get the No.1 pit selection is always good,” Busch said. “Hopefully it’s a good omen … though last week we threw it away by lap 20, so we’ll see. This M&Ms Camry has been really fast; our Toyotas have been showing good speed the last few weeks, so it would be nice to show that through 400 miles on Sunday.”
“That was a really good lap for these conditions, but it’s only going to get more hot and slick as the weekend goes on.”
Former Pocono winner Martin Truex Jr. turned the second-best time (50.408/178.543) in the final round, and as such, qualified alongside Busch for the second-consecutive week.
“Damn him!” Truex said jokingly of Busch. “What else can you say?”
“We had a lot of issues in practice and didn’t get many laps … the car didn’t feel right, we had power steering issues and it just didn’t even feel right going down the straightaways,” Truex added. “It took a few runs to get the driver calibrated in qualifying, and I probably needed one more run, but it was a good day and I’m proud of everyone’s effort. This was one of those days that really tested us, so I’m glad we came out with second.”
Truex only got within two-tenths of Busch’s pole run, while Matt Kenseth (50.531/178.108) made it a Toyota sweep of the front three qualifying spots at the end of the final round.
Three Toyotas were followed by three Fords, with Ryan Blaney leading the Blue Oval Brigade in fourth (50.591/177.897) and posting his best-ever qualifying run at the Tricky Triangle.
Kurt Busch (50.619/177.799) followed Blaney in fifth, ahead of 2012 Cup champion Brad Keselowski.
Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and Kevin Harvick completed the dozen drivers who advanced through all three knockout rounds.
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