News & Media

Busch sets track record in winning pole at Phoenix

November 10, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

Kesleowski will start 14th, 10 spots better than Johnson, the worst of the Chasers

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Busch sped around Phoenix International Raceway at record pace Friday afternoon.

In the same qualifying session, Jimmie Johnson gave Brad Keselowski a ray of hope on a day that grew increasingly cloudy as time trials progressed.


2. M. Truex Jr. 138.217 26.046
3. D. Hamlin 137.578 26.167
4. K. Kahne 137.478 26.186
5. A. Almirola 137.211 26.237

Busch toured the 1-mile track in 25.943 seconds (138.766 mph), edging Martin Truex Jr. (138.217 mph) for the top starting spot in Sunday's AdvoCare 500. The Coors Light Pole Award was Busch's second of the season, his second at PIR and the 10th of his career.

With an early draw on a warmer track -- thanks to a slower speed in Friday's practice (speeds), Johnson, the Chase for the Sprint Cup leader, ran 135.440 mph and will start 24th on Sunday. Johnson holds a seven-point lead over second-place Keselowski with two events left in the Chase.

Keselowski (136.622 mph) will take the green flag in 14th place on Sunday. Johnson, who won the past two Chase races from the pole, posted his poorest qualifying performance since starting 37th at Bristol in August, 11 races ago.

Denny Hamlin (137.578 mph) qualified third, followed by Kasey Kahne (137.478 mph), as the top four drivers exceeded the previous record 137.279 mph (26.224 seconds) set by Carl Edwards on Feb. 26, 2011, the last race weekend before the track was repaved and reconfigured.

Busch was the last driver to make a qualifying attempt, and the late draw helped. Busch made his run on scuffed tires -- those used during a mock qualifying run in practice.

"For us, the race track wasn't that bad," Busch said. "Yeah, it was really slick to start with when we first went out for practice earlier [Friday], but we were fast right off from our first mock run. We just had to make slight changes.


• Kyle Busch scored his 10th career pole in his 292nd race, and second of the season (New Hampshire in July).
• Kyle Busch posted his second Phoenix pole in his 16th race; he's the ninth driver to win multiple poles at Phoenix.
• Kyle Busch's pole-wining time of 25.943 seconds (138.766 mph) set a track record, the ninth track record set in 2012; the top four all broke the previous record at Phoenix.
• Joe Gibbs Racing scored its 60th career pole and third at Phoenix; it's JGR's sixth pole of 2012, second-most among all teams.
• Toyota scored its 11th pole of 2012 and second at Phoenix (both in 2012).
• Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his second front-row start of 2012 and third front-row start at Phoenix in 14 races.
• Denny Hamlin (third) posted his 10th top-five start of 2012 and fourth top-five start at Phoenix, but first since this race in 2009.
• Kasey Kahne (fourth) posted his fourth consecutive top-10 start at Phoenix; he won this race last year starting 10th.
• Aric Almirola (fifth) posted his best Phoenix start in his fourth race; he qualified in the top five for the second time in the past four races of 2012.
• Brad Keselowski (14th) qualified better than Jimmie Johnson (24th) for only the third time in the 2012 Chase.
• Jimmie Johnson 24th posted his worst start of the 2012 Chase; he's the lowest-starting Chase driver.
• J.J. Yeley was the only driver who failed to make the race.

"We made three of 'em [mock runs]. We used three set of stickers [new tires] all in practice, and we ended up rolling out [for qualifying] on one of our used sets of scuffs and made our lap."