Kyle Busch wins Cup pole for Quaker State 400; Kyle Larson in last after failing inspection
Kyle Busch will start from the pole position of Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway after the threat of weather forced NASCAR to end qualifying through two of three rounds.
Busch claimed his third Cup pole of the season less than two hours after he won the pole for Friday night’s Xfinity race.
The starting top five for the Quaker State 400 will be Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth (who made news earlier in the day), Jamie McMurray and Denny Hamlin.
“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 cars as we’ve gone 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 this Toyota Camry to victory lane here in Kentucky.”
Busch’s pole comes in the first race back for crew chief Adam Stevens, who was suspended for the past four races. Stevens was suspended after Busch’s left-rear tire fell off following a pit stop at Dover.
“It’s obviously better to have Adam than not to have Adam,” Busch said. “We’ve been fast even though we haven’t had him on top of the pit box every week. We just want to make sure that we can stay fast and the guys have been doing a great job without him and of course now that he’s back with them and hopefully he’s the game changer for us to get to victory lane.”
Points leader Kyle Larson will start last in 40th after his No. 42 Chevrolet didn’t clear prequalifying inspection in time. Larson started at the rear for the same reason in the Coca-Cola 600. At Texas Motor Speedway in April, Larson was one of nine drivers who were unable to make a lap in qualifying.
“I would like to go out there and qualify because I feel like I have a really good shot at the pole,” Larson said. “We will be fine from the back. Our Target Chevy was really good today, I thought, in race trim, better than I’ve ever felt at Kentucky. Obviously, it will be hard to pass, but we also thought the same thing at Texas and we didn’t get to qualify there and I cruised right to the front no problem. So, we will see.”
Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick (whose team barely cleared inspection in time for qualifying), Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10 starting positions.
Coke Zero 400 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will roll off 18th.
Busch, who is winless this season, will try to repeat what he did in the inaugural Cup race at Kentucky in 2011, winning from the first starting spot after qualifying was canceled.