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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch on Coca-Cola 600 pole

CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 24: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Red White & Blue Toyota, poses with the Busch Pole Award afer qualifying on the pole for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)


Kyle Busch will begin his bid for his first points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway from the pole Sunday evening in the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the Cup Series season. A 28.149-second/191.836 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying on Thursday garnered Busch his third pole of 2018, 13 races into the season, and the third of his career at Charlotte.

“Pure talent all the way around,” Busch said of how he won the pole. “The whole team, team talent. Guys did a great job. We weren’t very good in practice. We were off a little bit. You know we could only run a 70, and we ran it three times in a row, and that wasn’t going to do it. That wasn’t going to be fast enough, so everybody went to work and did a really good job, so Adam (Stevens, crew chief) gave me a piece, there, that we could come out here and sit on the pole with and carry that Red White & Blue M&Ms Camry to the front, so looking forward to keeping it there and having a great day on Sunday.”

Joey Logano qualified second to share the front row with Busch.

“I came in here earlier (CMS media center), talking about how important qualifying was, and at the time, we just got done with practice, and we were around 20th on the speed chart, and I was thinking, ‘Qualifying is important, and we’re not very fast,’ but we made some good adjustments,” Logano said. “The track also changed a lot. It’s hard for me to say what was the changes and what was the race track. The Xfinity cars ran on that PJ1 (traction compound) a lot and definitely activated it and got the grip definitely up, there, so it’s hard for me to say what was what, but, overall, the car got faster, and that’s all I really care about. We were able to get a good starting spot. It’s not the pole. We were a solid 0.1 off, but we improved every round in getting our car faster. I think it’s the best we’ve qualified all year, so that’s a good sign for us. Hopefully, when we come back here on Saturday, we’re able to adjust on our car a little bit and get it to where we can be good on the bottom, be good on the top, and as the track changes like we just saw, hopefully, we’re good on both of those, and that’s what we’ll work on and, hopefully, at the end of the day, we’re winning the Coca-Cola 600.”

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin qualified third.

All four JGR teams survived to the third round, or round of 12, of the qualifying session and claimed top-10 positions on the race starting grid with Erik Jones fourth and Daniel Suarez 10th.

Toyota and Ford claimed the top-five spots on the grid. Ryan Newman was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet driver in sixth.

Kevin Harvick who leads the series with five wins, so far, this season will have to race from the back if expects to win a third-consecutive points-paying race and add to his All-Star victory at CMS from a week ago. Difficulty getting through pre-qualifying inspection kept Harvick from making a qualifying attempt Thursday, and as a result, he’ll start Sunday evening’s marathon from the back.

“It sure don’t hurt,” Logano said of his chance of winning with Harvick starting in the back. “We taking bets on how long it’s gonna take for him to get up there? Where is the new betting thing? Is that what we’re doing now? Is that in the media center? That’s funny.”

J.J. Yeley also failed to make a qualifying attempt for new team, NY Racing.

Busch was fast throughout qualifying. After finishing the opening round second to Jamie McMurray, who posted a 28.267-second/191.035 mph lap in the first round, the eventual pole sitter was fastest in round two with a 28.185-second/191.591 mph lap.

Below, is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
Row 1 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 2 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Erik Jones (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 3 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Ford)
Row 5 — Aric Almirola (No. 10 Ford), Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota)
Row 6 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford), Paul Menard (No. 21 Ford)
Row 8 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford)
Row 9 — Matt Kenseth (No. 6 Ford), Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — David Ragan (No. 38 Ford), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — William Byron (No. 24 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 9 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 43 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Ross Chastain (No. 15 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Alex Bowman (No. 88 Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 15 — Michael McDowell (No. 34 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Toyota)
Row 17 — Corey LaJoie (No. 72 Chevrolet), Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 18 — Landon Cassill (No. 00 Chevrolet), Timmy Hill (No. 66 Toyota)
Row 19 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 55 Chevrolet), B.J. McLeod (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), J.J. Yeley (No. 7 Chevrolet).

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Posted by on May 25, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,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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