- Kurt Busch takes pole with early run
- Montoya claims outside pole
- Changing weather influences qualifying
Kurt Busch turned in a lap time of 30.901 seconds on Saturday at Kansas Speedway to claim the pole starting position for the STP 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.
“We changed a lot of things on our AAA Dodge overnight,” Busch said to at least partly explain how he improved his time from Friday’s practice by nearly a second-and-a-half.
Busch was the only driver to post a qualifying lap time under 31 seconds.
The weather conditions may have also been in Busch’s favor. With the temperature going up throughout the qualifying session, making the track slicker for cars that went out later, the cars that went out early in the qualifying session looked to have an advantage.
Kurt Busch was the fifth driver out in qualifying. Juan Montoya, who made his qualifying run right before Busch, posted a lap time of 31.007 seconds to claim the second starting spot.
A few cars in the late going did manage to overcome the rising temperature to claim spots near the front of the starting grid. Among those were Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers. Busch’s lap at 31.020 seconds and a 31.036-second lap for Vickers were good enough for second row starting spots.
Joey Logano, who was fastest in practice Friday and went out last among the locked in drivers, turned a lap at 31.061 seconds to claim the fifth starting stop.
“Our run was pretty good,” Logano said. “The track is giving up grip.”
On Sunday, Logano will be joined on the third row by sixth-place starter Jamie McMurray, who went out third and posted a lap time of 31.087 seconds.
Like Logano, Carl Edwards also overcame going out late in qualifying. His lap time of 31.097 seconds was good enough for the seventh starting spot.
Edwards was pleasantly surprised by his lap time, given the order in which he made his run. He said that he thought he’d be slower in the hotter temperature. Even so, he figured out something he did wrong and was disappointed he didn’t put his car on the pole.
The track is giving up grip.
“I know what I did wrong,” Edwards said. “It’s good to be disappointed about not getting the pole.”
Forty-five cars attempted qualifying runs on Saturday to claim one of the 43 staring spots for the race on Sunday. Tony Raines and T.J. Bell were the two drivers who were unable to secure positions on the starting grid.
David Stremme, with his new Inception Motorsports team, was the fastest among the go-or-go-homers with a lap time of 31.418 seconds.
“The Inception Motorsports group has done good for what we have to work with,” Stemme said.
Stremme will start 29th on Sunday.