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Quick work puts Busch, 18 team on All-Star pole

May 19, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

Kyle Busch edged Ryan Newman to grab his second consecutive All-Star pole and third of his career. (Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. -- Allmendinger takes Showdown pole, Junior to start third in race-in event

Kyle Busch and his crew had all three elements necessary to win the pole for Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race -- speed on the race track, speed on and off pit road and speed from the pit crew during the mandatory green-flag stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Lineup

Sprint All-star Race
Pos.DriverSpeedTime
2.R. Newman135.202119.821
3.D. Hamlin134.811120.168
4.G. Biffle134.529120.420
5.K. Harvick134.304120.622

With a total time of 1 minute, 59.112 seconds (136.006 mph) over three laps and the pit stop (watch), Busch edged Ryan Newman in Friday's time trials for the top starting spot in the race with a $1 miilion first prize.

Newman (135.202 mph) went out second and was the only driver other than Busch to post less than a two-minute qualifying effort (1:59.821). Fastest in Friday's practice, Busch was the last driver to make a qualifying attempt under the format unique to the All-Star Race.

Denny Hamlin (134.811 mph) claimed the third starting position, followed by Cup points leader Greg Biffle (134.529 mph) and Kevin Harvick (134.304 mph).

Busch won his third All-Star pole but has never won the race. Neither has his team, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch started from the top spot last year, but Carl Edwards took home the $1 million.

Pos.DriverSpeedTime
2. M. Truex Jr. 191.049 28.265
3. Dale Jr. 191.002 28.272
4. J. Burton 189.693 28.467
5. A. Almirola 188.752 28.609

Saturday's race will be contested in five segments -- four 20-lap stretches followed by a 10-lap dash to the finish. The winners of the first four segments enter the pits in the top four spots for a mandatory stop before the final segment.

"We unloaded with a really fast race car [Friday]," Busch said. "The guys made some minor changes to it to kind of feel it out and make it better where we could. The guys did a great job there with the pit stop, coming down pit road and changing four [tires] and then getting back out there and coming back to the line pretty quick.

"The rules change every year, so I guess this year you've got to make sure you win a segment, so you can at least have a shot at starting up front for the final segment."

Coming to the checkered flag, Kasey Kahne lost control of his No. 5 Chevrolet and slammed into the Turn 4 wall (watch). Kahne did not post a qualifying time and will start from the rear of the field in a backup car.

Kahne was on sticker tires after the mandatory pit stop.

"I was just trying to get all I could and went a little too far," Kahne said.

AJ Allmendinger won the pole for Saturday's Sprint Showdown, which will send its top two finishers to the main event. Allmendinger covered the 1.5-mile distance in 28.057 seconds (192.465 mph) to beat Martin Truex Jr. (191.049 mph) for the top starting spot in the qualifying race.

"For me, it was the perfect lap," said Allmendinger, who ran within inches of the Turn 4 wall on the money lap. "More than anything, the car stuck to the race track. We struggled a little bit in practice. The (car) had speed in it, but it wasn't really comfortable.

"So [crew chief] Todd Gordon and the guys went to work, and I felt like that was as perfect as I could run a lap."

AJ Allmendinger will start on the pole as he goes for his second Showdown victory. (Getty Images)

Notes-n-Nuggets

Sprint All-Star Race
• Kyle Busch scored his third All-Star pole in his seventh All-Star race.
• Kyle Busch's best All-Star finish is second (last year).
• Four of the 27 All-Star races have been won from the pole.
• Joe Gibbs Racing has yet to win the All-Star Race; it has finished second three times.
• Jimmie Johnson has first choice of pit stalls after winning the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge.
• Kasey Kahne has the best time entering pit road: 8.9 seconds.
• Brad Keselowski had the best pit stop: 12.1 seconds.
• Kasey Kahne had the best speed off pit road: 131 mph.
• Five drivers incurred penalties: Kurt Busch (one lug nut); Matt Kenseth (one lug nut); Mark Martin (one lug nut); Brad Keselowski (two lug nuts); and Marcos Ambrose (man over the all too soon).
• AJ Allmendinger posted his first Showdown pole in his sixth start; his previous best start was second (last year).
• AJ Allmendinger won the Showdown in 2008, accounting for his lone All-Star Race appearance (finished 17th).
• The Showdown field consists of drivers with a combined 77 Cup Series wins, five Coca-Cola 600 wins, two Daytona 500 wins, one All-Star win (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and one Cup champion (Bobby Labonte).
• Three of the drivers starting in the top four have won the Showdown and transferred into the All-Star Race: 1. AJ Allmendinger; 2. Martin Truex Jr.; 4. Jeff Burton.
• The Showdown format consists of two 20 lap segments. Green and yellow flags will be counted in the first segment; only green-flag laps count in the final segment.

Road to $1 million

• The Sprint All-Star Race consists of five segments, of 20, 20, 20, 20 and 10 laps.
• Twenty drivers are automatically qualified, as either race winners from 2011 and '12 or past champions of the All-Star event. Two more will transfer via the top two positions in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race, and another through a fan vote.
• Before the second, third and fourth segments of the All-Star Race, there is an optional pit stop in which teams may elect to pit for fuel, tires and chassis adjustments. Teams pitting will not retain their position on the track.
• Before the final segment, there is a mandatory pit stop in which teams may pit for fuel, tires and chassis adjustments. Tires are not mandatory during the stop. The winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field prior to the final segment, and be the first cars coming to pit road.
• Prior to the final segment, cars will line up in the order in which they exited pit road.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (191.002 mph) will start third. In addition to the top two finishers in the Showdown, the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will transfer to the All-Star Race.