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Kurt Busch Wins Pole for first Charlotte ROVAL Race

by Amy Henderson
Friday, September 28, 2018

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Kurt Busch scored his fourth pole of 2018
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

While the Big Three watched the second and final round of qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the big screen with the fans, Kurt Busch took the pole with a lap time of 76.805 seconds (106. 868 MPH). Busch tamed a wild Charlotte road course that has chewed up and spit out both Cup Series and XFINITY cars all weekend long.

It’s Busch’s 26th career Cup Series pole and his fourth of 2018.

Road course ace AJ Allmendinger was second on the charts after pacing round 1 followed by teammates Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott in third and fourth, with Kyle Larson rounding out the top 5.

With their backs against the wall in the playoffs, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer qualified sixth and seventh.  Jamie McMurray was eighth, Ryan Blaney ninth and Chris Buescher 10th.  Youngsters Daniel Hemric and Erik Jones completed the 12 drivers who made the second round.

Playoff drivers not making the second-round cut included Martin Truex Jr. (13th), Kyle Busch (14th), Joey Logano (15th), Kevin Harvick (19th), Austin Dillon (24th), Brad Keselowski (25th) and Denny Hamlin (27th). Hamlin will start at the back of the field as his team elected to go to a backup car after suffering damage in qualifying.

There are definite playoff implications—it’s still largely unknown how difficult it will be to pass (and where the passing zones will be).  Keselowski can breathe easy with his win at Las Vegas and Kyle Busch also has a pass thanks to his win at Richmond.  Truex and Harvick will make it through on points, but for the drivers facing elimination, only seven points separate safety in 10th place and elimination in 13th.  Austin Dillon has a 10-point cushion over Bowyer going in, but starts 24th, essentially erasing any advantage at the drop of the flag.

A.J. Allmendinger briefly held the pole before Kurt Busch booted him from the top spot
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Both Busch and Allmendinger are moving on from their rides after the season, and this race is an opportunity for both to shine as they work on plans for 2019. 

Allmendinger says there was no one area of the track where he lost speed.  “(it was) all of it.  I mean this is the way this place is.  It’s what makes it interesting and fun,” Allmednigr said after the session.  “I kind of look back like my Champ Car days it’s a street course. Yeah, you can nitpick and say I could have got a little more here or there, but you could also be in the wall very easily.  We weren’t very good in practice, so Trent and all the boys went to work on this Kroger Clicklist Chevy.  Got it way better than in practice because I was not very happy.  That close, but good starting spot…Hell, I’ve got nothing to lose, I don’t have a job, so we just go out there and hang it out.”

"It's pretty special to get the pole at an inaugural event and to do it here at the Roval, I mean, there's so much going on, Busch said after his run.  “There's so much that everybody has to manage, crew chief, lead engineer, myself, engine tuners, everybody chipped in on this 41 car the right way.  We had a plan for the first two rounds and it paid off.  I struggled this year qualifying at Watkins Glen and at Sonoma, so we came here with a plan and it worked.  Some conventional wisdom and thinking played out with our pole run today, but thanks to the guys, Monster Energy, Haas Automation, and Ford.  We're on the pole for the Roval."  

RACE LINEUP

Pos # Driver Sponsor/Make Lap Speed
1 41 Kurt Busch (P) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford 76.805 106.868
2 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 76.846 106.811
3 88 Alex Bowman (P) Axalta Chevrolet 76.854 106.800
4 9 Chase Elliott (P) SunEnergy1 Chevrolet 77.001 106.596
5 42 Kyle Larson (P) Clover/First Data Chevrolet 77.017 106.574
6 48 Jimmie Johnson (P) Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 77.098 106.462
7 14 Clint Bowyer (P) Mobil 1/Advance Auto Parts Ford 77.192 106.332
8 1 Jamie McMurray DC Solar Chevrolet 77.358 106.104
9 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Menards/Pennzoil Ford 77.493 105.919
10 37 Chris Buescher Maple Cheerios Chevrolet 77.76 105.556
11 8 Daniel Hemric(i) Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet 77.796 105.507
12 20 Erik Jones (P) Reser's Toyota 77.868 105.409
13 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota 77.39 106.060
14 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M's Toyota 77.575 105.807
15 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 77.589 105.788
16 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford 77.618 105.749
17 19 Daniel Suarez Lenox Toyota 77.663 105.687
18 34 Michael McDowell K-LOVE Radio Ford 77.668 105.681
19 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Jimmy John's New 9-Grain Wheat Sub Ford 77.947 105.302
20 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford 78.031 105.189
21 24 William Byron # Unifirst Chevrolet 78.082 105.120
22 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 78.101 105.095
23 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. SunnyD Ford 78.258 104.884
24 3 Austin Dillon (P) Dow Chevrolet 78.389 104.709
25 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Alliance Truck Parts Ford 78.435 104.647
26 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 78.455 104.620
27 11 Denny Hamlin (P) FedEx Freight Toyota 78.561 104.479
28 32 Matt DiBenedetto Superior Logistics Services Inc. Ford 78.657 104.352
29 31 Ryan Newman Grainger/American Red Cross Chevrolet 78.665 104.341
30 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 78.898 104.033
31 15 Justin Marks(i) GoPro Motorplex/Pickers Vodka Chevrolet 78.972 103.936
32 95 Regan Smith Procore Chevrolet 79.267 103.549
33 72 Cole Whitt Rinnai Chevrolet 79.489 103.260
34 43 Bubba Wallace # World Wide Technology Chevrolet 79.91 102.716
35 7 Ross Chastain(i) SOKAL Media Group Chevrolet 79.94 102.677
36 23 JJ Yeley(i) Adirondack Tree Surgeons Toyota 80.444 102.034
37 96 Jeffrey Earnhardt iK9/Xtreme Concepts Toyota 80.51 101.950
38 0 Landon Cassill(i) Dairi O Chevrolet 81.196 101.089
39 51 Stanton Barrett Jacob Companies Ford 81.871 100.255
40 66 Timmy Hill(i) Ternio Toyota 82.022 100.071



 

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