Kyle Busch Earns Cup Pole
Kyle Busch edged Kasey Kahne by .003 seconds and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin by .004 to win the pole for Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Busch had a fast lap of 133.417 mph.
The pole was Busch’s first of the season, his first at New Hampshire and the ninth of his career.
Kahne (133.403 mph) will start next to Busch on the front row, with Hamlin (133.399 mph) taking the green flag from the third starting spot in the 19th Cup race of the season.
Martin Truex Jr. (133.338 mph) will start fourth, followed by two-time New Hampshire winner Clint Bowyer (133.319 mph).
Ryan Newman qualified sixth, followed by the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tony Stewart, last week’s winner at Daytona, starts 10th. Series leader Matt Kenseth will take the green deep in the field, from the 27th position on the grid.
Busch won the pole even though he nearly clipped the wall during his run.
“I got in the throttle really early in (Turns) 3 and 4, trying to make speed and was able to finish it,” Busch said. “But the car slipped right at the last second when you get to that older asphalt — it seems like this tire (new from Goodyear for this race) is different from the older tire, where you lose just a pinch of grip — it slid out right to the cushion point, I guess you’d say. But, no, there’s no mark on the car, so it’s a good day.”
Hamlin posted his lap despite the absence of crew chief Darian Grubb, who is celebrating the birth of his daughter Gabriella, who arrived Monday morning. Mike Wheeler, Hamlin’s race engineer, took Grubb’s place on the pit box.No Comment