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Kyle Busch On Pole For Cup Race In Pocono

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 9 2017

Kyle Busch rolled to his second pole of the season Friday when he qualified fastest at Pocono. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

RacinToday.com

Kyle Busch drove to the pole Friday qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono Raceway.

Busch laid down a fast lap of 179.151 mph in the final round of qualifying. The pole position was his second of the season, his third at the 2.5-mile track and the 21st of his Monster Energy Cup Series career.

“I thought I got through turn one pretty good,” he said, “and I got through turn two just OK and then entering turn three I felt like I slipped a little actually but as soon as it was done slipping, we had grip and I could go. It was sort of I was sliding in there and got nothing, got nothing and then all of a sudden it grips up and go. I was able to get the gas down and it was really well off of turn three.

“I did notice I was able to shift early and I felt like I got a good exit there and didn’t know how good of a lap it was going to be. It took forever to pop up on my screen. They said a 50.20 and I thought that was faster than the last round and hoped it was good enough for no one to beat it.”

Busch, in his first of four races with interim crew chief Ben Beshore filling in for the suspended Adam Stevens, will take the green flag first in Sunday’s Pocono 400 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).

“I think it just shows the way Adam Stevens is able to prepare his team and his cars and the work that goes on back at the shop with the guys,” Busch said. “This whole team is lined up with good personnel and Adam chooses all that and Joe (Gibbs, owner) gives us all the right tools in order to be successful. So far, so good and to come out here gives us the number one pit selection and gives us the track position to start, but we have to keep it.

“As we saw last week, we definitely missed the eight-ball on that and screwed it up pretty early in the race and knocked ourselves down and out almost. We were able to rebound and finish OK. We were probably going to run fourth until we had another loose wheel at the end. It was just a bad weekend for us and things didn’t quite go the way we wanted them to on Sunday and we will change that here this time around in Pocono.”

Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. was second-fastest lap at 178.543 mph in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota.

“It was definitely a trying day,” Truex said. “We didn’t get much practice in. We were having all kinds of power steering issues and I think we only made a total of four laps and none of them were very good. Definitely took a few runs there to get my marks down and get a little faith in the car and what it was doing and where I needed to put it and we got faster each round. Second two weeks in a row stinks, but it’s a good starting spot for Sundayand I’m looking forward to the car tomorrow for race trim and see if we can get another win here at Pocono.”

Matt Kenseth, Ryan Blaney and Kurt Busch completed the top five. Michael McDowell was 11th-fastest in his best qualifying result of the year.

Darrell Wallace Jr. qualified 16th for his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut. Sunday’s race will mark his first effort as a substitute for the injured Aric Almirola in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford.

“That one will take a smile off your face,” Wallace said. “That’s just the competitive nature.  I definitely wanted to make the third round, and I think we had enough speed in it, and it’s just me of knowing that you pick up speed every run.  I knew that going into it.

“We talked about it right after we climbed out from the first run, but you get so fixated on those Xfinity cars and those things are all about momentum, so I was just kind of waiting for that thing to turn and get down to the bottom and get it all pointed, and I didn’t muscle it up.  I just kind of got lazy with it.  We picked up, but we should have picked up a lot more than what we did, but it’s a good starting spot.”

Jimmie Johnson, last week’s winner at Dover, qualified 19th in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned in the 28th-fastest qualifying lap. He will start at the rear of the field regardless because of an unapproved engine change in his Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet in first practice.

Chase Elliott, Earnhardt’s teammate in Hendrick’s No. 24 Chevy, will start 25th in the field, missing out on the 24-driver cut after the first knockout round of qualifying by just six thousandths of a second.

The Monster Energy Series has one practice remaining, scheduled for 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m. ET on Saturday.

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NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Axalta presents the Pocono 400

Pocono Raceway

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Friday, June 9, 2017

  1. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 179.151 mph.
  2. (78)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 178.543 mph.
  3. (20)  Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 178.108 mph.
  4. (21)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 177.897 mph.
  5. (41)  Kurt Busch, Ford, 177.799 mph.
  6. (2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 177.792 mph.
  7. (42)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 177.557 mph.
  8. (1)  Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 177.368 mph.
  9. (22)  Joey Logano, Ford, 177.256 mph.
  10. (31)  Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 177.026 mph.
  11. (95)  Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 176.918 mph.
  12. (4)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 176.561 mph.
  13. (27)  Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 176.533 mph.
  14. (19)  Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 176.460 mph.
  15. (77)  Erik Jones #, Toyota, 176.211 mph.
  16. (43)  Darrell Wallace Jr.(i), Ford, 176.146 mph.
  17. (3)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 176.122 mph.
  18. (11)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 176.049 mph.
  19. (48)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 175.695 mph.
  20. (14)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 175.586 mph.
  21. (47)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 175.582 mph.
  22. (6)  Trevor Bayne, Ford, 175.469 mph.
  23. (17)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 174.750 mph.
  24. (10)  Danica Patrick, Ford, 172.665 mph.
  25. (24)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 175.223 mph.
  26. (5)  Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 174.744 mph.
  27. (13)  Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 174.186 mph.
  28. (88)  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 173.832 mph.
  29. (37)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 173.645 mph.
  30. (32)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 173.417 mph.
  31. (38)  David Ragan, Ford, 172.924 mph.
  32. (72)  Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 172.698 mph.
  33. (23)  Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 172.318 mph.
  34. (34)  Landon Cassill, Ford, 172.255 mph.
  35. (83)  Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 170.655 mph.
  36. (15)  Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 168.243 mph.
  37. (33)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 167.380 mph.
  38. (51)  Cody Ware, Chevrolet, 166.334 mph.
  39. (55)  Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 161.218 mph.

 

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 9 2017
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