Kyle Busch Nabs Pole At Martinsville
Kyle Busch ran the fastest lap in the round that counted, edging Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin for the top starting spot in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
The pole was Busch’s first of the season, his first at Martinsville and the 14th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. The only driver to run under 19 seconds in the decisive second round (18.998 seconds), Busch posted the top speed of 99.674 mph on his second lap in the session.
Hamlin was at 99.548 mph (19.022 seconds), with first-session leader Joey Logano qualifying third (99.428 mph) and eight-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson fourth (99.178 mph).
“It feels good,” said Busch, last Sunday’s winner at Auto Club Speedway. “To put the (No. 18) M&M’s car on the pole here at Martinsville is something that doesn’t happen very often.
“It certainly is a great day for us. The whole team, [crew chief] Dave Rogers and everybody, they did a great job. We unloaded with a fast car, and we tried to dial it in as best we could with race trim, and then right there at the last second [of practice], we did a qualifying run and that was about all we got.
“The guys did a good job there making some changes to it for the [first-round] qualifying session and getting us a good lap there, and especially the changes we made in-between [rounds] to continue to try to put down fast laps with the tires kind of diminishing there.”
Jeff Gordon qualified fifth, followed by Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer. Under the knockout format introduced this year, the top 12 drivers in the 30-minute first session advanced to the 10-minute pole round.
Busch took advantage of a late caution to grab the lead and win last Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, Calif. Hamlin never started the race, after NASCAR doctors held him out because of impaired vision, the result of what turned out to be a sliver of metal in his eye.No Comment