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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch on pole at Kentucky

Kyle Busch wins the pole for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Kyle Busch wins the pole for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Lightning abbreviated Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Friday night, with NASCAR calling the session, scheduled for three rounds, official after round two. Kyle Busch’s 28.379-second/190.282 mph lap was the fastest of what wound up being the final round of qualifying, so he’ll start on the pole for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

“Certainly this is worthwhile for our team and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said. “The guys have done an amazing job this year at building faster race are as we’ve got on this year; we started out a little behind. Just right there, so close, having an opportunity to win each and every week, we just need to bust through and get it to happen. The Snickers car, this weekend, has been fast and looking forward to taking the Toyota Camry to victory lane, here, in Kentucky.”

Saturday night’s Cup Series race will be Busch’s second of the day, and he’ll start on the pole for both, as he also qualified on the pole for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race that was originally scheduled for Friday night but postponed to Saturday afternoon because of approaching severe weather.

Toyota claimed the top-three spots on the Cup starting grid and four of the top-five starting positions at the track a short drive from the Toyota Camry manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Ky. Busch will share the front row with Martin Truex Jr.

“We definitely wanted another crack at it,” Truex said. “I definitely left some out there in round two, but really proud of everybody on this Furniture Row Toyota. Had a good day at the race track, here, today. I think we’ve qualified second, like, five times now, which stinks a little bit, but we’ll get our pole soon, and we’ll go get them tomorrow night.”

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin qualified third and fifth. Chevrolet’s Jamie McMurray was the lone non-Toyota driver in the top-five, qualifying fourth.

Series points leader Kyle Larson will start last Saturday night, as a result of not making a qualifying attempt. After posting the fastest lap in final practice earlier in the day Friday, Larson’s team didn’t pass pre-qualifying inspection in time to make a lap in round one.

Chase Elliott was fastest in the first round with a 28.506-second/189.434 mph lap, but after posting the top lap in the opening round, he was 12th in round two, claiming the final transfer spot for the third round that didn’t happen. With the shortening of qualifying, Elliott wound up 12th on the grid.

“That was disappointing to be as quick as we were that first one and then slow down to last in the round,” Elliott said. “That is a bummer; you never want to be 12th out of 12.”

Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway:
Row 1 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 2 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 3 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 4 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 6 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)
Row 8 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 9 — Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 43 Ford), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 10 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford)
Row 11 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet), Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 14 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford)
Row 16 — Ryan Sieg (No. 83 Toyota), Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Chevrolet), Joey Gase (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 18 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — B.J. McLeod (No. 51 Chevrolet), Timmy Hill (No. 66 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Gray Gaulding (No. 55 Toyota), Kyle Larson (No. 42 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 July 8, 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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