The grid has been set for the fifth race of the Chase.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifications at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday evening, Kyle Busch raced to the pole position for the Bank of America 500. And he did so at a rapid speed of 197.390 miles per hour.
Driving the Doublemint Toyota, Busch garnered his third pole in 2014, the second at Charlotte and the 16th of his successful career.
Kyle on pole, but brother Kurt goes quickest
Even though the youngest of the Busch brothers will start from the pole, Kurt Busch soared to the track record with a blistering speed of 198.771 mph, doing so in the second of three rounds of qualifications and surpassing Denny Hamlin’s year-old standard of 195.624 mph.
With his electrifying speed, Kurt Busch set the NASCAR qualification record for all 1.5-mile tracks. He will start 11th. Previously at the Texas Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick held the record with a speed of 198.282 mph.
Pole-winner Kyle Busch comments
“This is a good start to the weekend. It feels pretty good to come out here this time of day and be able to set a fast time in qualifying in the last session to get ourselves up front, getting ourselves in clean air and getting the first pit selection. The car felt good through all three rounds, and it was pretty consistent. We ran relatively the same lap times each time out and kept backing them up. When you can do all these things, that’s pretty good. All in all a good day, and it feels good to start this way.”
Second place qualifier Jeff Gordon comments
“We felt like we had a car that could have been on the pole,” Gordon said. “I am little bit let down that I couldn’t do it for this team, as I felt like the car was fast enough to do it. I got through (turns) 1 and 2 extremely good but when I got down to (turn) 3, I guess I was a little bit too conservative. I got through there clean and the car turned really good, and I didn’t expect it to do that, but still a really good effort and a really good position to start this race.”
The best of the rest
Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart earned second-row starting spots at 197.087 and 196.542 mph, respectively. Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Harvick, Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-10 qualifiers. Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle timed 11th and 12th, respectively.
Kasey Kahne topped round 1 qualifiers with a lightning-fast speed of 197.976 mph. Trailing him were Chase contenders Harvick, Edwards, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Newman. In this round, 21 drivers bested the previous track record.
The top-24 from round 1 advanced to the 10-minute second round with Kurt Busch turning heads with his speed of 198.771 mph. Harvick, Gordon, Kyle Busch, Stewart, Menard, Biffle, Edwards, Earnhardt, Hamlin, Vickers and Newman chased the fleet Busch.
Missing the top-12 were teammates Logano and Keselowski, who qualified 13th and 17th, respectively. Three other Chase drivers also came up short. Kahne timed 19th with Johnson 21st and Kenseth 26th.
Saturday night’s race will mark the halfway point in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.