By AMANDA VINCENT
Kurt Busch claimed his second-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole starting position on Friday by claiming the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his hometown track. He also won the pole a week earlier at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But unlike when he inherited the pole at Atlanta when brother Kyle Busch’s qualifying time was disallowed, he claimed the Las Vegas pole while also breaking Jeff Gordon’s previous LVMS track qualifying record. Busch’s pole-winning lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying clocked in at 27.505 seconds/196.328 mph. He also was fastest in the first round of qualifying.
“It was insanely fast,” Busch said of his car. “It’s amazing all the detail that goes into qualifying with finding that perfect lap three times out there. My second outing, we were way tight, and I didn’t know where it came from. (Crew chief Tony) Gibson and crew went to town. They just adjusted on it. We gambled, and we made the last session, which was great. That was icing on the cake to be able to go out into the the third round. I was first or 12th; it didn’t matter.”
Busch will be joined on the front row by Joey Logano. Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski claimed second-row starting spots, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Thee three-round qualifying session was marred by multiple on-track incidents. In the first round, Jamie McMurray tagged the outside whall in turn four. In a separate incident, Keselowski ran over a piece of debris and cut a tire. McMurray did post a qualifying lap time, but unlike Keselowski, he was unable to advance past round one.
In round two, Carl Edwards it the wall, failing to post a lap time in the round. The Edwards incident brought out the red flag, bringing to an end to a run by Brian Vickers that would’ve, certainly, advanced him to the final round of qualifying.
Here is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Kobalt 400:
Row 1 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 2 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 3 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 6 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 8 — Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 9 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Brian Vickers (No. 14 Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota)
Row 13 — Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 14 — Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 15 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota), Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford)
Row 17 — Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 18 — Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet), Cole Whitt (No. 98 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 32 Ford)
Row 20 — Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet)
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