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Kyle Busch wins third pole of 2013 at Daytona

July 05, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

Kyle Busch wins third pole of 2013 at Daytona
Toyota takes the top three spots with Busch, Kenseth and Bowyer

Related: Full qualifying results | Complete Daytona coverage

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kyle Busch won the pole for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway, leading a Toyota sweep of the top three starting positions.

Busch toured the 2.5-mile superspeedway in 46.458 seconds (193.723 mph) to win his third Coors Light Pole award of the season, his first at Daytona and the 13th of his career. Never before had Busch won more than two poles in a single season, and never before had Busch won a pole on a restrictor-plate track.

In Friday afternoon’s time trials, Busch edged Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth (193.299 mph) for the top starting spot in the 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. Clint Bowyer (193.158 mph) qualified third in the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, as Camry drivers claimed five of the top seven spots on the grid.

Despite his prowess across all three of NASCAR’s top three tourning series, Busch was beginning to wonder if he’d ever get a superspeedway pole.

“I never thought I’d ever get one,” Busch said. “But I guess never says never. It’s pretty cool, because it has absolutely nothing to do with the driver, but it has everything to do with the car and equipment you’re driving.

“Unfortunately, whether it’s been Trucks or Nationwide or Cup, I’ve never had a speedway pole. I thought it was always something to do with me. That’s not really true -- it’s just in the back of your mind. But it’s cool to sit on the pole here, and I’m definitely excited about knowing I have a fast race car, qualifying well, and getting ready for (Saturday) night.”

Kasey Kahne posted the fourth fastest lap at 193.154 mph and was the best of the Chevrolet drivers. Martin Truex Jr. (193.129 mph), fresh from his recent victory at Sonoma, will start fifth. Paul Menard, Michael Waltrip, series leader Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg Biffle earned the sixth through 10th starting positions, respectively.

Stenhouse, the last driver to make a qualifying run, knocked girlfriend Danica Patrick from the 10th to the 11th starting position. Reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski qualified 14th, one position ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is seeking his first victory since June 2012 at Michigan.

The qualifying session was the only on-track obligation of Cup drivers on Friday, and Bowyer was getting stir-crazy.

“I can’t wait for (Saturday),” Bowyer said. “My ADD is running wild. I think I ran seven laps (in Thursday’s practice) and one today. All these fans down here having a blast down at the beach, and I can’t join ‘em because of that one lap that I had to do today.


“I can’t wait to hopefully put on a good show for them (Saturday) night. We all know it’s going to be wild -- it always is at Daytona.”

The race will air on TNT Saturday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET.