Kyle Busch has yet to win a race in his own NASCAR Nationwide Series equipment this year, but with three races to go in the 2012 season, his No. 54 Toyota has been fast so far at Texas Motor Speedway.
“It’s getting better,” Busch said of the No. 54 Toyota that he owns and is still looking to take to victory lane for the first time.
Busch posted the fastest lap in first practice at the track on Friday in preparation for Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. He followed that up with a pole-winning 29.500-second lap during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
He’ll be joined on the front row for Saturday night’s race by series championship points leader Elliott Sadler. Sadler occupied the provisional pole prior to Busch’s run with a 29.531-second lap that he was pretty sure wouldn’t stand for the pole.
“It’s fast,” Sadler said of his car. “I messed up my lap. I’d like to do it over again.”
Sadler’s Richard Childress Racing teammates, Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon, were right behind the points leader with their qualifying times, taking the third and fourth spot on the starting grid. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sadler’s closest championship competitor, rounded out the top-five.
Qualifying sixth through 10th were Cole Whitt, Joey Logano, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin and Kenny Wallace.
Several drivers fought loose handling conditions. Justin Allgaier was among them. His No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet got sideway, and Allgaier wound up with a starting position of 17th.
“I just thought qualifying was getting kind of boring, so I thought I’d spice it up a little bit,” Allgaier joked soon after getting out of his car.
Jennifer Jo Cobb was also among the drivers who had trouble. After hitting the wall during her qualifying lap, she failed to make the race.
Three other drivers failed to garner spots on the starting grid. They include Chase Miller, Timmy Hill and Morgan Shepherd.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
– Follow Stock Car Spin on Twitter @SCSblog or like Stock Car Spin on Facebook
– Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner