Kyle Busch tops Clint Bowyer for Martinsville Cup pole

Kyle Busch will start the semifinal round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in the best position possible.

Kyle Busch tops Clint Bowyer for Martinsville Cup pole
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Halloween
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Halloween
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil, Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Rush Truck Centers
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Rush Truck Centers
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Office
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Freight

Running multiple laps in the final five-minute round of knockout qualifying on Saturday, Busch was able to knock Clint Bowyer from the top spot and won the pole for Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Busch ended up with an average lap speed of 96.254 mph, which was the fastest lap recorded all day.

“We’ve been good here that last couple of years and especially this time of year,” said Busch, who used a victory in this race one year ago to lock himself in the Championship 4 at Homestead, Fla.

“We’ve had good speed since we’ve been here. We’ve just been trying to fine-tune the balance to get that much better. We were close in the spring – we were second-best. We want to be first-best, though, and automatically advance through.”

The pole is Busch’s fourth of the year and 31st of his career.

Bowyer was second (96.122 mph) and Denny Hamlin third (96.112 mph). Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 12 starters are Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and William Byron.

Round 2

Kurt Busch led the way in the 10-minute second round with an average lap speed of 96.161 mph.

Kyle Busch ended up second (96.068 mph) and Hamlin was third (96.049 mph). Bowyer and Almirola completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Suarez, Larson, Truex, Blaney, Byron, Keselowski and Logano.

Logano went out very late in the session and knocked playoff driver Kevin Harvick out of the Top 12. He will line up 13th in Sunday’s race.

Also failing to advance to the final round were three members of Hendrick Motorsports – Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson. Elliott will line up 21st on Sunday, lowest of the eight remaining playoff drivers.

Elliott has won two races in the playoffs so far, including last weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Round 1

Blaney had the fastest average speed in the first round as Fords swept the top-five positions.

Blaney’s lap at 96.317 mph just edged Bowyer (96.151 mph). Almirola was third (96.039 mph), Kurt Busch fourth and Logano completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Hamlin, McMurray, A.J. Allmendinger, Larson and Ryan Newman.

Among those who failed to advance to the second round were Ross Chastain, Matt Kenseth, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon and Darrell Wallace Jr.

Just over eight minutes into the first round, Wallace spun entering Turn 3 and slammed into the Turn 4 wall, doing significant damage to the No. 43 Chevrolet.

Wallace’s Richard Petty Motorsports team immediately brought out its backup car, which means Wallace will have to start from the rear of the field in Sunday’s race.

Cla # Driver 4506 Time Gap Mph
1 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 19.673   96.254
2 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 19.700 0.027 96.122
3 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 19.702 0.029 96.112
4 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 19.706 0.033 96.093
5 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 19.713 0.040 96.058
6 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 19.739 0.066 95.932
7 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 19.749 0.076 95.883
8 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 19.770 0.097 95.781
9 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 19.786 0.113 95.704
10 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 19.806 0.133 95.607
11 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 19.825 0.152 95.516
12 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 19.877 0.204 95.266
13 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 19.822 0.149 95.530
14 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 19.834 0.161 95.472
15 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 19.840 0.167 95.444
16 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 19.842 0.169 95.434
17 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 19.859 0.186 95.352
18 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 19.865 0.192 95.323
19 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 19.889 0.216 95.208
20 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 19.894 0.221 95.184
21 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 19.902 0.229 95.146
22 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 19.915 0.242 95.084
23 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 19.916 0.243 95.079
24 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 19.927 0.254 95.027
25 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 19.898 0.225 95.165
26 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 19.905 0.232 95.132
27 6 United States Matt Kenseth  Ford 19.913 0.240 95.094
28 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 19.916 0.243 95.079
29 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 19.918 0.245 95.070
30 95 United States Regan Smith  Chevrolet 19.941 0.268 94.960
31 72 United States Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 20.057 0.384 94.411
32 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 20.062 0.389 94.387
33 96 Canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 20.162 0.489 93.919
34 23 United States J.J. Yeley  Toyota 20.205 0.532 93.719
35 00 United States Joey Gase  Chevrolet 20.342 0.669 93.088
36 51 United States Jeb Burton  Ford 20.388 0.715 92.878
37 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 20.432 0.759 92.678
38 7 Hermie Sadler  Chevrolet 20.472 0.799 92.497
39 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 21.040 1.367 90.000
40 99 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet    
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville II
Author Jim Utter
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