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Kurt Busch Wins Second Pole Of The Season

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 5 2016
Las Vegas native Kurt Busch gave his hometown fans a pole-winning run on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Rusty Jarrett)

Las Vegas native Kurt Busch gave his hometown fans a pole-winning run on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Rusty Jarrett)

By Jim Pedley | Senior Writer

Kurt Busch obviously felt right at home for Friday’s qualifying session for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Yes, because he is a native of Las Vegas, but also because his car looked race-winnable in two of the three rounds of the qualifier.

sprint-logo-08Busch ran 196.238 mph (27.505 seconds) in the final round to beat Joey Logano (195.851 mph) for the top starting spot.

Matt Kenseth (195.780 mph) qualified third, followed by Brad Keselowski (195.666 mph) and Austin Dillon (195.624 mph).

The pole was Busch’s second straight in the series, coming off last week’s top qualifying effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Two poles in a row — this is great,” said Busch said. “This is how you work through an offseason and show up to qualify. Now we just need to find that speed on the long run.”

But the path to the pole wasn’t totally smooth for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver. Busch’s No. 41 Chevrolet tightened up during the second round, forcing him to make a second run to crack the top 12 and advance to the final round.

“I’m really proud of the team to help me get to that third round,” Busch said. “I was overdriving the car, and I needed to settle in, and (crew chief) Tony Gibson made a great adjustment in that last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the

Kurt Busch is on a pole-winning hot streak as he has won the last two in a row. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

Kurt Busch is on a pole-winning hot streak as he has won the last two in a row. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

pole, but now we’ve got to go to work (in Saturday’s practice). I hope we can get the car dialed in for long-run speed for Sunday.”

In the first round of knockout qualifying, Busch laid down a track-record lap at 196.378 mph (27.498 seconds).

Logano’s front-row-earning effort was a relieve to him and his Team Penske team after a 26th-place qualifying run at Atlanta.

“I think we learned from our mistakes,” Logano said. “It’s not like we hit on something huge (in Friday’s practice). We found some things… you find some direction on things that are better than others and what this package wants compared to last year’s.

“You get some of that stuff, but there is no finding three tenths of a second. It’s hard to hit on something like that. In general, we got a better direction of what we need to do to our car. It showed today with both Team Penske cars up there in qualifying.”

Kenseth said “good” when asked about his qualifying run.

“I thought we made improvements every run,” the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. “The last lap we got a little tight in turns one and two, a little tighter than we were and we were really good in three and four. It was a good lap, he (Kurt Busch) had us by a bit the whole time. Overall I was happy. We weren’t nearly that fast in qualifying trim earlier today, so I thought it was a good lap.”

Keselowski said, “The track kept picking up as night came in and you saw the speeds pick up the last few runs. I tried a little too hard to get that last little bit of pick-up and it wasn’t quite there. I probably swung a little too hard. All in all a really good day for us. It was a good improvement from where we were last week and look forward to showcasing that same improvement in the race and getting another win here in Las Vegas. That would be really special to add another one to the Las Vegas win pile.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Kobalt 400

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Friday, March 04, 2016

  1. (41)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 196.328 mph.
  2. (22)  Joey Logano, Ford, 195.851 mph.
  3. (20)  Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 195.780 mph.
  4. (2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 195.666 mph.
  5. (3)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 195.624 mph.
  6. (4)  Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 195.454 mph.
  7. (43)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 195.291 mph.
  8. (5)  Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 195.284 mph.
  9. (11)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 195.080 mph.
  10. (78)  Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 194.974 mph.
  11. (48)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 193.986 mph.
  12. (47)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 193.126 mph.
  13. (24)  Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 194.665 mph.
  14. (21)  Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 194.658 mph.
  15. (27)  Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 194.356 mph.
  16. (17)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 194.301 mph.
  17. (42)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 193.889 mph.
  18. (10)  Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 193.625 mph.
  19. (14)  Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, 193.597 mph.
  20. (88)  Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 193.444 mph.
  21. (31)  Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 193.334 mph.
  22. (13)  Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 192.933 mph.
  23. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 192.795 mph.
  24. (19)  Carl Edwards, Toyota, 195.101 mph.
  25. (34)  Chris Buescher #, Ford, 193.050 mph.
  26. (16)  Greg Biffle, Ford, 192.933 mph.
  27. (38)  Landon Cassill, Ford, 192.754 mph.
  28. (6)  Trevor Bayne, Ford, 192.726 mph.
  29. (1)  Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 192.342 mph.
  30. (95)  Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 192.020 mph.
  31. (23)  David Ragan, Toyota, 191.870 mph.
  32. (44)  Brian Scott #, Ford, 191.144 mph.
  33. (7)  Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 190.873 mph.
  34. (83)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 190.154 mph.
  35. (15)  Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 189.036 mph.
  36. (98)  Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 188.422 mph.
  37. (46)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 188.409 mph.
  38. (32)  Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 187.846 mph.
  39. (30)  Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 185.810 mph.


| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 5 2016
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