By: Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
- Busch hands Penske Racing 4th straight pole
- Reutimann settles for 2nd starting position
- Kenseth starts from 3rd
Kurt Busch claims his third consecutive 2011 Cup pole
With a lap time of 38.156 seconds, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Dodge for Penske Racing, edged out David Reutimann’s No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota to claim the pole on Saturday for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
“It’s amazing how it comes down to thousandths of seconds,” Busch said.
The pole for Sunday’s race is the third-straight for Busch and the fourth consecutive for Penske Racing.
Reutimann turned in a lap at 38.159 seconds, just 0.003 seconds slower than Busch, to capture the other front-row starting spot. According to the Toyota driver he lost that fraction of a second near the end of his qualifying lap. “We wiggled in the middle down there,” Reutimann said. “I let it wiggle, and it cost us.”
Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing was the only other driver to post a lap in under 38.2 seconds. After posting a time of 38.172 seconds, Kenseth will start third on Sunday.
“That was a really good lap for us,” Kenseth said. “We were just too loose in three and four and couldn’t quite carry the speed I needed to carry there.”
Brian Vickers held the provisional pole through much of the qualifying session, going out 20th in his No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota and holding on to the top spot until Kenseth went out 39th. After posting a lap time of 38.266, Vickers eventually got shuffled back to a fourth-place, second-row starting spot by the end of the qualifying session.
“Thank goodness the sun is out,” Vickers said soon after making his qualifying attempt.
The heat from the sun took grip away from the race track, making qualifying runs difficult for several drivers and enabling Vickers to hold on to the provisional pole until the later, faster cars went out.
Among the late-goers was Regan Smith in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet. With a qualifying lap of 38.378 seconds, Smith rounded out the top-five.