BROOKLYN, Mich. – After falling one spot short in round one, Kyle Busch rallied back on his second run to notch the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Michigan Int’l Speedway.
Busch posted a time of 37.197 seconds (193.564 mph) in the final knockout round en route to his 60th career XFINITY pole, third of the season and second at the two-mile oval in the Irish Hills.
When they were topped by long-time rival Brad Keselowski after round one, Busch and his team went to work with the tools they had to get back on top.
“We made some good adjustments,” Busch said. “We just had to adjust air pressures, that’s all we had. The car was just really, really loose that first run … so it was about getting the balance that much better. There certainly was some speed for sure and being able to just hold the gas down more and get more out of it.”
“It’s good to be working with Eric [Phillips] and KBM alumni. It’s just fun to be able to have the opportunity to come run in the XFINITY Series again and hopefully we can have a good day here today. This isn’t going to be an easy one, that’s for sure, but hopefully we can put on a good show.”
Busch added that he believes traffic will be a big variable for many of the contenders in the Irish Hills 250, after not many drivers experimented in dirty air during practice.
“I think you’re going to have some interesting moments in traffic and picking and choosing if the draft is going to be a big deal or not. Normally in years past, we’d almost come here and practice in groups and we would draft up on each other and see how our car was driving in traffic. Nobody really did that yesterday … there was just a lot of single-car runs, so I think everybody is going to be in for a surprise here in a little bit with how these cars are going to be in traffic.”
Keselowski’s Ford landed second-fastest in the final round (37.222/193.434), followed by Elliott Sadler’s Chevrolet (37.251/193.283) in third.
Rookie William Byron and Denny Hamlin completed the top five.
Three more rookies in Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Spencer Gallagher were sixth through eighth, respectively; followed by Michael Annett, Paul Menard, Brandon Jones and Ben Kennedy among the cars that advanced through both rounds of knockout qualifying.
Blake Koch was the first driver below the cut line in round one, and will start 13th in the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet after a best lap of 37.802 seconds (190.466 mph).
Other notables mired behind the front six rows included Matt Tifft (14th), Daniel Hemric (16th), Ty Dillon (17th), Ryan Reed (20th) and points leader Justin Allgaier (22nd).
Allgaier’s starting position on the outside of row 11 is his worst placing on the grid this season, coming one week after he took the points lead from Sadler at Pocono.
“Man, I just missed Turns 1 and 2,” Allgaier lamented. “It’s unfortunate when you only have one lap to get it done. It makes it tough when you miss a corner … and I lifted probably more than I wanted to and then had to crack it a few times coming off of Turn 2. Just unfortunate. … My teammates were third, fourth and ninth, and we’re way back there on on our own little island. We’ve got our work cut out for us … but I think once we get in traffic, our car will really drive well.”
The Irish Hills 250 takes the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…