News & Media


Busch ready to bring home big check from pole

May 20, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Busch to start first in All-Star Race; Ragan earns pole in Showdown

Kyle Busch, the last of 18 drivers to make a qualifying attempt, edged Clint Bowyer for the pole for Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Now comes the important business of winning the race -- something Busch hasn't been close to doing in five attempts.

All-Star Race

Lineup
Pos.DriverMake
2.Clint BowyerChevrolet
3.Greg BiffleFord
4.Carl EdwardsFord
5.Mark MartinChevrolet

Showdown

Lineup
Pos.DriverMake
2.A.J. AllmendingerFord
3.Paul MenardChevrolet
4.Brad KeselowskiDodge
5.Jeff BurtonChevrolet

Under the unique All-Star Race qualifying format that features three laps and a pit stop, Busch completed the process in 1 minute, 59.191 seconds (135.916 mph) to Bowyer's 135.377 mph. Greg Biffle was a close third at 134.740 mph.

Carl Edwards (134.236 mph) will start fourth, followed by Mark Martin (133.670 mph), who is driving the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend, as Jimmie Johnson (who qualified 11th) gets behind the wheel of the No. 5 (to promote a program with sponsor Lowe's).

Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Juan Montoya, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman will start from positions six through 10 in the race that pays $1 million to win.

Busch concedes that the non-points format of the race favors him. Nevertheless, he has failed to finish four of the five All-Star events he's run.

"This race is a race where everybody says it suits Kyle Busch, and we all know why," Busch said. "It's because you can go fast, balls to the wall, and you either bring back the steering wheel or the check. Unfortunately, I've been highly successful at bringing back the steering wheel. Unfortunately, I have not brought back the check, so hopefully we can do that here [Saturday]."

David Ragan won the pole for the Sprint Showdown, the qualifying race that precedes the main event. Ragan posted a lap at 191.680 mph (28.172 seconds) to edge fellow Ford driver A.J. Allmendinger for the top starting spot.

The top two drivers from the Showdown advance to the All-Star Race, in addition to the driver, not otherwise eligible, who wins the Sprint Fan Vote, the results of which are announced between races.

Ragan described transferring into the All-Star Race as "the number one thing on our to-do list right now besides the Daytona 500, which we've already run."

Notes-n-Nuggets

All-Star Race
• Kyle Busch earned his second All-Star Race pole in his sixth start.
• Kyle Busch has DNFs in four of his previous five starts in the All-Star Race; His best finish is seventh.
• Joe Gibbs Racing has yet to win the All-Star Race, though the team has finished second three times.
• Four of the 26 All-Star Races have been won from the pole, including Kurt Busch last year.
• The best times in each category -- Time entering pit road: Clint Bowyer (9.06 seconds); Pit stop time: Tony Stewart (12.4 seconds); Speed off pit road: Jimmie Johnson (131 mph); Total time: Kyle Busch (119.191 seconds).
• There were seven different pole-sitters, and six of them pitted in stall 18. Matt Kenseth was the first driver to take time and pitted in stall 16.
• David Reutimann was the only driver to be penalized -- too fast entering (20 seconds) and over the wall too soon (5 seconds).
• The race is made up of four segments -- 50 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps.
• Mark Martin will start his 22nd All-Star Race, the most among all drivers.
• The race winner will claim a minimum of $1,028,300.
• David Ragan earned his first Showdown pole in his fifth race. His best finish was third, in 2008.
• David Ragan is the 13th driver to win the pole.
• The Showdown is broken into two 20-lap segments with no mandatory pit stops.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13th) is making his first Showdown start; he has been in the All-Star race in each of his previous 11 seasons.
• Six drivers who were in last year's All-Star Race are in the Showdown field.
• There are 10 drivers in the Showdown who have won at least one Sprint Cup Series race.
• The Showdown winner will earn at least $150,000 -- $70,000 for the victory, $80,000 for a last-place finish in the All-Star Race.
• Three drivers have won the All-Star Race after transferring from the Showdown: Michael Waltrip (1996), Ryan Newman (2002) and Kasey Kahne (2008).

"I think this is the next important race that's here [on the schedule], because it kind of sets the tone for the Coke 600 next week," Ragan said. "If this car runs well, we'll be able to bring it back and have a head start for next week."