Kyle Busch Takes New Hampshire Pole
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on July 11, 2014 | 5:38 P.M. EST
Busch, who finished second last year in both races at New Hampshire, won his 15th career pole. (Photo: Getty Images)
LOUDON, N.H. - They couldn’t top Kyle Busch in qualifying. Now, will they be able to stop him in Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
Kyle Busch won the pole with a track-record lap of 138.130 mph, scoring his third front-row start in his last five starts at this 1-mile track. He was even stronger in the races last year, finishing second both times.
Jimmie Johnson will start second with Busch’s teammate, Denny Hamlin, third, Tony Stewart fourth and Jamie McMurray fifth.
Busch’s advantage came in the opening round when he posted his fast time on his first lap. Many others posted their fast time on their second lap. The difference proved significant as the a car’s speed declined the more laps run on the tires.
With one less lap than most, Busch posted a lap in the final round that no one could match.
Busch said his car got tight on the his fast run and thought he had slowed it too much in the corner to win the pole but “when I got back to the gas, I got back to it hard and strong.’’
Said Hamlin: “That was a good move by them.’’
It was good enough for Busch to earn his 15th career Cup pole.
“It’s so tough to get a good lap around here,’’ Johnson said. “The first outing put up a decent time, fastest of the day for ourselves, (but) still knew that we had to go faster and to come out for the second session on older tires and improve by over two tenths is something to be proud of. Of course we want to get the pole, want to be faster, but Kyle found a little bit more out there than us.’’
Martin Truex Jr. qualified ninth, earning his best starting spot since qualifying second for the Daytona 500.
Jeff Gordon starts 11th, only the second time in the last seven events he’s started outside the top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 28th, the second time in the last three races he’s started outside the top 25.
Forty-three cars attempted to qualify, so no one was bumped. Morgan Shepherd, who is 72 years old, starts last.