Busch Breezes To Nationwide Pole In Texas
By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
Fort Worth, Texas – Kyle Busch will bid for an unprecedented third consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday from the best seat in the house, and with a double shot at history.
On a day when high wind warnings and occasional gusts from 50 to 60 mph made handling an adventure, Busch toured the 1.5-mile TMS quadoval in 28.685 seconds/188.252 mph to qualify on pole.
“It’s very exciting to be on pole here,” said Busch, driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry. “2004 was the last time I was here on pole in the Nationwide Series . We looked forward to qualifying, at least, today when the wind died down. Earlier in the day (two practices) we were really struggling– I was anyway – with the way the winds were blowing us around. I was almost scared to drive the thing.
“We weren’t very fast in the first one but got going better in the second practice. Made some adjustments to it that we felt like would help us Saturday. Hopefully we’re correct in those.”
Fellow Sprint Cup regular Matt Kenseth was the only other driver to crack 188 mph during qualifying, posting a lap at 28.715 seconds/188.055 mph to earn the outside pole. Kenseth, driver of the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion, won Nationwide races at TMS in 2004 and 2007 – a feat Bush matched in 2008.
Busch won this event last April 4 in historic fashion, coming from the furthest starting position (31st) to win a Nationwide series race at TMS. It was Busch’s first victory in Fort Worth in any of NASCAR’s three touring series. Busch again rewrote TMS’ Nationwide Series record book on Nov. 7, when his dominating victory in the O’Reilly Challenge capped off the two-race sweep. Busch led a track-record 174 of 200 laps en route to his record-tying 10th victory of the season.
Thursday’s Nationwide pole is the second for Busch at TMS, where he started on-point in April 2004.
“I remember beating Greg Biffle for the pole, barely, think I led the most laps that day (147),” Busch said. “The car was really, really loose in the beginning of the race. Led the most laps and then was trying to chase down Matt Kenseth at the end of the race, but just wasn’t quite about to get there. He was really good that day, too. I finished second, and hopefully that doesn’t happen here this time around.”
Paul Menard will start third in the No. 98 Richmond/Menards Ford after lap at 187.931 mph. He will be joined in Row 2 by David Ragan, who hot-lapped the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford at 187.709 mph.
Carl Edwards, who owns a 114-point lead in the standings over Kevin Harvick, qualified sixth at 187.266 mph in the No. 60 Scotts Ford.
Meawhile, McKinney’s Robert Richardson Jr. will start 35th in the No. 23 Mahindra Tractors Chevrolet Monte Carlo after a lap at 180.536 mph.
Beginning with Jeff Green, who qualified No. 1 for the inaugural Coca-Cola 300 in April 1997, no Nationwide pole-sitter has gone on to win at TMS. “We look to end that trend here Saturday,” Busch said.
Starting order for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway:
- Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota
- Matt Kenseth, No. 16 Ford
- Paul Menard, No. 98 Ford
- Davind Ragan, No. 6 Ford.
- Jeff Burton, No. 29 Chevrolet
- Carl Edwards, No. 60 Ford
- Terry Cook, No. 91 Chevrolet
- Tony Stewart, No 33 Chevrolet
- Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 5 Chevrolet
- Joey Logano, No. 20 Toyota
- Justin Allgair, No. 12 Dodge
- Jason Leffler, No. 38 Toyota
- Mike Bliss, No. 1 Chevrolet
- Kevin Hamlin, NO. 81 Dodge
- Michael McDowell, No. 47 Toyota
- Jason Keller, No. 27 Ford
- Scott Lagasse, No. 11, Toyota
- Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 Chevrolet
- Michael Waltrip, No. 99 Toyota
- David Reutimann, No. 10 Toyota
- Andy Ponstein, No. 102 Chevrolet
- Dennis Setzer, No. 196 Dodge
- Peyton Sellers, No. 177 Chevrolet
- Joe Nemechek, No. 86 Chevrolet
- Eric McClure, No. 24 Ford
- Danny O’Quinn, No. 01 Chevrolet
- Shelby Howard, No. 70 Chevrolet
- Burney Lamar, No. 32 Toyota
- John Wes Townley, No. 09 Ford
- Steve Wallace, No. 66 Chervolet
- Michael Annett, No. 15 Toyota
- David Green, No. 07 Toyota
- Kenny Hendrick, No. 42 Dodge
- Johnny Champman, No. 90 Chevrolet
- Robert Richardson Jr., No. 23 Chevrolet
- Tony Raines, No. 234 Chevrolet
- Kevin Lepage, No. 52 Chevrolet
- Kenny Wallace, No. 28 Chevrolet
- Morga Shepherd, No. 89 Chevrolet
- Brandon Whitt, No. 61 Ford
- Casey Atwood, No. 05 Ford
- Brad Keselowski, No., 88 Chevrolet
- J.C. Stout, No. 0 Chevrolet