Joe Gibbs Racing’s hot shoe Kyle Busch grabbed the pole for the AdvoCare 500, knocking Martin Truex Jr. off the top spot for Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. The two Toyota drivers were the last ones to attempt their qualifying runs with cool temperatures; yet both were extremely hot!
Speaking of his hot laps, Busch commented: “Did it on the first one, but thought I gave up a little bit in (turns) three and four so I wanted to try for a second one to see if I could get any more speed out of it. Saw a couple guys go faster on lap two. We'll take it and it will be a good starting spot for us.”
Obviously, getting first pit selection and all that's good for us.
Busch turned a record time of 25.943 seconds for a speed of 138.766 mph. in his #18 on his way to his second pole at the one-mile oval in Arizona. It is also his second pole in 2012. Busch blistered the track with his record time to notch his 10th Sprint Cup career pole.
“Obviously, getting first pit selection and all that's good for us. The M&M's Camry was awesome all day today. Can't wait for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get this thing dolled up for race trim and have a good race car come Sunday,” said Busch.
Truex held the new track record and the pole briefly in his #56 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. His best lap was a 26.046 of a second with a speed of 138.217 mph; missing the record by 0.103. He said, “I held it for a short time.” Truex will start on the front row for the penultimate Cup race this year.
"It was good lap -- definitely a good lap for our NAPA Toyota. Obviously, the late draw was something that we knew was going to be big. We were fortunate enough to be able to get that and go out late, put down a good lap. It wasn't good enough, obviously, but nonetheless a good starting spot for Sunday and hopefully we'll be able to turn that into something big,” Truex said.
Joining Hamlin on the second row is Kasey Kahne who nailed down the top qualifying spot for Chevrolet. In his #5 Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne had a 26.186 for a speed of 137.478. He commented, “The car felt good; I just missed my braking points a little bit and had an issue with my brakes. But other than that, the car felt really good. So, I thought we should have been better; first right now, for sure. I don’t know about beating the No. 18 (Kyle Busch).”
Taking row three with the fifth best time was Aric Almirola in the #43 with his best speed of 137.211 mph. Sixth went to Kurt Busch with a lap of 137.007 mph in the #78 Chevrolet.
Rounding out the top ten were Paul Menard (Chevrolet), Regan Smith (Chevrolet), Mark Martin (Toyota), and Tony Stewart (Chevrolet).
The two top contenders in the Chase, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson were further back with the #2 SRT Dodge Penske 10 grid spots higher than the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. However does that give Keselowski an edge over Johnson? Except for bragging rights and the desired pit box, it is a 500-mile race, and anything can happen. Johnson who will start 24th has a seven point lead over Keselowski who slots 14th on the grid. In fact, Truex is the highest placing Chase driver!
J.J. Yeley did not make the grid.