In a manner of speaking, Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota went from last to first during pole qualifying on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301. After posting the fastest lap in practice, Busch was the last of 44 drivers on the track in qualifying and postest the fastest qualifying lap — with a time of 28.548 seconds — to claim the pole and start first on Sunday.
“We unloaded with a really, really good race car today,” Busch said. “We just had to back up our practice time, and we did that.”
He just barely knocked off the previous provisional pole sitter, Kasey Kahne, beating Kahne’s lap time by a mere 0.003 seconds. Kahne will still start on the front row.
“We have a great Farmers Insurance Chevrolet today,” Kahne said. “We were good in practice.”
Kahne’s Chevrolet was the only non-Toyota to qualify in the top-five.
Busch’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin qualified third and will share the second row with Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr.
“It wasn’t a perfect lap,” Truex said. “We missed it just a little.”
Truex’s MWR teammate Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Ford was completely shut out of the top-10. Going out next to last in the session, Greg Biffle’s No. 16 was Ford’s last hope to crack the top-10 on the starting grid, but Biffle fell just short, qualifying 11th after scrubbing the wall.
Dodge only had two representatives in Sprint Cup Series competition on hand — the Penske Racing duo of Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr., filling in for the suspended A.J. Allmendinger. Both qualified outside the top-20, with Keselowski qualifying 22nd and Hornish 24th.
Of the 44 drivers who made qualifying attempts, Mike Bliss was the lone driver who failed to get a starting spot after hitting the wall on his qualifying lap.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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