Penske's Kurt Busch claimed a surprise pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas, edging Earnhardt Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya.
Busch had been unhappy with the balance of his car during Friday's practice sessions and actually ended up spinning out of Turn 4 during a qualifying simulation run late in the final hour of practice.
However, his low position on the leaderboard ended up as a lucky break as based on this year's qualifying rules, the order for cars to go on track is determined by the best practice times, the fastest going out last when track conditions are usually at their best.
With Cup qualifying taking place before noon this time, those running first in the order after being slowest in practice got the coolest track temperatures of the session as the sun quickly brought grip levels down for most of the fastest from Friday's practice.
Montoya ran fourth in the order and set the benchmark before Busch came out next and pipped him for what turned out to be pole position for Sunday's 400-miler at Kansas.
"This is a great feeling, especially after yesterday when we spun in practice and had to repair the car with some of the front end damage," said Busch after Penske's second consecutive pole of the season, following Brad Keselowski's at Charlotte last week.
"The way the practice was a struggle for us, no we didn't expect to be in the pole and that early [run] definitely helped us, it didn't hurt... This is definitely a surprise, we're happy for it. It's been almost a year since we had a pole."
Cloud cover late in the session allowed some to get close to Busch's time, his brother Kyle actually ending up about a tenth short of pole and placed third for Joe Gibbs Racing. His teammate Joey Logano -- fastest in practice -- was fifth ahead of the similar Toyota of Red Bull's Brian Vickers, putting three Camrys in the top five on the grid.
Jamie McMurray, also an early runner in the order, ended up in sixth ahead of points leader Carl Edwards, who looks strong ahead of Sunday's race as well as his Roush Fenway teammates, once again fast on the 1.5-mile tracks.
Meanwhile reigning champion Jimmie Johnson had his worst qualifying of the season, battling a loose car to end up 31st on the grid a week after his first DNF of the year due to an engine failure at Charlotte.
David Stremme ran last in the order with the group of those having to qualify on time, setting the fastest time among them with 29th place. Tony Raines and TJ Bell failed to qualify.