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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch claims pole at Dover

Kyle Busch (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hadn’t held a qualifying session at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in nearly two years before Friday’s three-round session, since rained forced the cancellation of qualifying both Dover race weekends last year and in the fall of 2015. The first Cup qualifying session at Dover in quite some time produced a pole sitter that fans haven’t seen start first in quite some time — Kyle Busch. Busch’s 22.648-second/158.954 mph lap in the third round on Friday gave Busch the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism. It’s his first pole since the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last season, which also was his last win.
Toyota claimed all the row one and two positions on the starting grid for Sunday’s race, with Martin Truex Jr. claiming second, and Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth claiming second-row starting spots.
“It feels great to beat that 79 (Truex),” Busch said. “Our team cars have been really fast this year, so those guys are really on it, but overall, couldn’t be more excited about this Pedigree Camry and the guys and all the work that we’ve done all year long, but to sit on the pole here means a little bit for us; it gives us a really good pit selection for Sunday, and more importantly, just gives us the track position right off the bat. We know the 78 car is going to be fast; they always are, and one of the guys we’re going to have to race against. There’s going to be many others that are starting farther back that we’ll be racing against, too, before the end of the day, but we’ll work on our Dogs Rule Pedigree Camry tomorrow in practice and make sure we get a good race setup underneath us so we can, hopefully, stay up front.”
All four Joe Gibbs Racing entries, along with both Furniture Row Racing drivers advanced to the final round of qualifying and will start in the top-10 Sunday.
The fourth JGR driver, Denny Hamlin, qualified 10th, while Truex’s Furniture Row teammate Erik Jones was seventh.
Kyle Larson, the fastest driver in practice and fastest in the first round of qualifying, was the highest-qualifying non-Toyota driver in fifth.
“We were really good in practice, and I didn’t feel very good that first run, but we still weren’t really fast, and my front-end was just working way too good,” Larson said. “Landing in the corner, it was kind of getting me upset, and the final round, it got better, but our exit was too tight. I couldn’t carry a lot of speed off turn four. I ended up fifth but would have liked to have been on the pole.”
Busch’s round-leading 22.554-second/159.617 mph lap in round two was the fastest lap, overall, of the qualifying session.
Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway:
Row 1 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 2 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 3 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford)
Row 4 — Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 5 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 6 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 7 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 12 — Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 14 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet), Regan Smith (No. 43 Ford — fill-in for Aric Almirola)
Row 16 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford), Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 17 — David Ragan (No. 38 Ford), Ryan Sieg (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 18 — Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet), Ross Chastain (No. 15 Toyota)
Row 19 — Timmy Hill (No. 66 Chevrolet), Cody Ware (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on June 3, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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