Kyle Busch may be well acquainted with victory lane at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway, claiming five Sprint NASCAR Cup Series wins at the track. But the front of the Sprint Cup starting grid at Bristol is unfamiliar territory for Busch, until now. With a 14.813-second qualifying lap at the track on Friday, Busch claimed his first-career Cup pole at BMS for Sunday’s Food City 500.
“I hope I don’t get lost,” Busch jokingly said of getting to pit in one of the preferred corner pit stalls for the first time.
Busch will be joined on the front row by Kasey Kahne, who turned in a 14.875-second lap in qualifying.
“It felt just a touch tight in (turns) one and two,” Kahne said of his lap. “I gave up just a little on the backstretch, but nailed three and four.”
Before Kahne went out late in the session and took the second starting spot, Joe Gibbs Racing had command of the provisional front row, with Busch’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin in the then-second provisional spot.
“You can’t really believe all the grip the car has,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin wound up third. Brian Vickers qualified fourth to give Toyota three spots in the top-four of the starting grid for Sunday’s race with Kahne’s Chevrolet being the only non-Toyota in the front two rows.
Busch, Kahne and Hamlin posted lap times faster than the previous track record, with nine drivers turning in laps times under 15 seconds. Thirty-six of the 44 cars making qualifying laps turned in time fastest that the pole lap from a year ago.
Paul Menard qualified fifth, and Jamie McMurray was sixth. Brad Keselowski had the fastest Ford in qualifying, posting the seventh-fastest lap. Eighth through 10th in qualifying were Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Scott Riggs was the only driver who failed to make the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR