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Busch nearly perfect thus far, earns Nationwide pole

March 02, 2013, Staff Report, NASCAR.com

Busch nearly perfect thus far, earns Nationwide pole
JGR driver followed by teammates Vickers, Kenseth to round out top 3

RELATED: Starting lineup/Practice results

After finishing second and first, respectively, in the two practices ahead of the second Nationwide Series event of the season, Kyle Busch earned the pole with the top overall speed in qualifying on Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver ran a time of 27.056 with a best speed of 133.057 mph in the 1-mile oval in preparation for Saturday’s Dollar General 200 fueled by AmeriGas on ESPN2 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Runner-up Brian Vickers was nearly a full mile-per-hour behind Busch, running a lap of 27.234 with a speed of 132.188. Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top 5. Austin Dillion placed sixth with a top speed of 131.844 after finishing at the top in the first practice and 13th in the second.

Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson, running in a Nationwide Series event for the first time since 2011, followed up his runner-up finish in the final practice by placing seventh in qualifying with a speed of 131.709.

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RELATED: Friday practice speeds

Aric Almirola -- filling in for the injured Michael Annett, who had surgery Friday on his broken and dislocated sternum -- was eighth-fastest in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Mustang.

Reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski turned a lap of 27.380, good for ninth overall.

Elliot Sadler, winner of last season’s March Phoenix event, was 15th with a best speed of 130.819.

Ryan Sieg, racing in place of the suspended Jeremy Clements, was 35th in the No. 51 Chevrolet.

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