By AMANDA VINCENT
Kyle Busch, the winner of the last three and four of the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, will begin his bid for a fourth-consecutive win from the pole on Sunday in the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., after turning in a 50.444-second/178.416 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at the track on Friday. It’s his first pole of the season.
“I told you I had a fast car. I just wasn’t sure we could get the balance of it right,” Busch said. “There right at the end of that last run was the best it’s been all day. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and those guys, they did it again.”
Busch will share the front row with reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick. Harvick was second in the second round of qualifying after posting the fastest lap in round two, a lap clocked at 50.665 seconds/177.637 mph.
“I think, for us, I feel like from our goals to what we did in qualifying, I feel like we definitely over-achieved today and that was a good thing,” Harvick said. “It was just hard work by the guys on the team in just making the right adjustments and we needed that last round to go like we did and run our best lap of the day and really start putting those pieces together and be able to hit the ground running when we get to Chicago (Chicagoland Speedway — first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup).”
Joey Logano was third fastest in both the second and third rounds, and as a result of his third-place run in round two, will line up on the inside spot in the second row for Sunday’s race. He’ll share row two with Austin Dillon.
Tony Stewart will start row three from the fifth spot, sharing the row with Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch. Along with Harvick’s second spot on the starting grid, SHR put three of its four cars in the first three rows of the starting grid.
Stewart led a SHR top-two on the speed chart in round one with a 50.762-second/177.298 mph lap. Harvick was second in the first round.
Here is the complete starting grid for the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway:
Row 1: Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet)
Row 2: Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 3: Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet)
Row 4: Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota)
Row 5: Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 6: Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 7: Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Chevrolet), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 8: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 9: Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 10: Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Toyota), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet)
Row 11: Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 12: Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), David Ragan (No. 55 Toyota)
Row 13: Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 14: Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Alex Bowman (No. 7 Chevrolet)
Row 15: Landon Cassill (No. 40 Chevrolet), Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 9 Ford)
Row 16: Justin Allgaier (No. 51 Chevrolet), Brett Moffitt (No. 34 Ford)
Row 17: Cole Whitt (No. 35 Ford), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 18: J.J. Yeley (No. 23 Toyota), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 19: David Gilliland (No. 38 Ford), Jeb Burton (No. 26 Toyota)
Row 20: Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet), Travis Kvapil (No. 32 Ford)
Row 21: Reed Sorenson (No. 98 Chevrolet), Alex Kennedy (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Row 22: Timmy Hill (No. 62 Ford)
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