Kyle Busch will start his 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from pole position after setting the pace in qualifying for Sunday's event at Pocono.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has not generally regarded the 2.5-mile tri-oval as one of his best tracks, but an impressive lap with a time of 53.102 seconds at an average speed of 169.485 mph, placed him at the front of of the field for Sunday's 500-mile race.
Busch beat the previous benchmark lap set by Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer by more than a tenth of a second, running stronger through the very quick 90-degree Turn 2.
On Sunday the 25-year-old will become the youngest driver ever to reach 200 starts at NASCAR's top level and said he was looking forward to translating his pole into a winning celebration on race day.
"To start on the pole for race 200 is going to mean a lot, and of course, it will mean even more if we can win this thing on Sunday," said Busch after claiming his second pole of the season.
Bowyer's front row starting position will be his first since he won from pole position at Loudon in 2007, while Hendrick Motorsports' Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Penske's Kurt Busch will follow on the second row of the grid.
Three-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five, while Stewart-Haas' Tony Stewart – winner a year ago at the track – was sixth ahead of Earnhardt Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya in seventh.
Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson had been quickest earlier in practice but ended up only 25th fastest. Ahead of him Max Papis had his best qualifying effort of the season, placing his car 20th on the grid as the best of the non-guaranteed drivers.
Terry Cook and Ted Musgrave both failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap
1. Kyle Busch Toyota 169.485mph 53.102s
2. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 169.138mph 53.211s + 0.109s
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 169.097mph 53.224s + 0.122s
4. Kurt Busch Dodge 168.963mph 53.266s + 0.164s
5. Denny Hamlin Toyota 168.868mph 53.296s + 0.194s
6. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 168.84 mph 53.305s + 0.203s
7. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 168.805mph 53.316s + 0.214s
8. Kasey Kahne Ford 168.713mph 53.345s + 0.243s
9. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 168.669mph 53.359s + 0.257s
10. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 168.612mph 53.377s + 0.275s
11. Brad Keselowski Dodge 168.300mph 53.476s + 0.374s
12. Joey Logano Toyota 168.240mph 53.495s + 0.393s
13. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 168.205mph 53.506s + 0.404s
14. Mark Martin Chevrolet 168.124mph 53.532s + 0.430s
15. Matt Kenseth Ford 168.036mph 53.560s + 0.458s
16. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 167.973mph 53.580s + 0.478s
17. AJ Allmendinger Ford 167.863mph 53.615s + 0.513s
18. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 167.823mph 53.628s + 0.526s
19. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 167.785mph 53.640s + 0.538s
20. Max Papis Toyota 167.679mph 53.674s + 0.572s
21. Elliott Sadler Ford 167.538mph 53.719s + 0.617s
22. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 167.529mph 53.722s + 0.620s
23. Casey Mears Toyota 167.510mph 53.728s + 0.626s
24. Regan Smith Chevrolet 167.476mph 53.739s + 0.637s
25. Carl Edwards Ford 167.392mph 53.766s + 0.664s
26. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 167.392mph 53.766s + 0.664s
27. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 167.212mph 53.824s + 0.722s
28. Greg Biffle Ford 167.178mph 53.835s + 0.733s
29. David Reutimann Toyota 167.115mph 53.855s + 0.753s
30. Joe Nemechek Toyota 167.047mph 53.877s + 0.775s
31. Scott Speed Toyota 166.982mph 53.898s + 0.796s
32. Michael McDowell Toyota 166.976mph 53.900s + 0.798s
33. Paul Menard Ford 166.821mph 53.950s + 0.848s
34. Dave Blaney Toyota 166.738mph 53.977s + 0.875s
35. David Ragan Ford 166.098mph 54.185s + 1.083s
36. JJ Yeley Dodge 165.972mph 54.226s + 1.124s
37. David Gilliland Ford 165.929mph 54.240s + 1.138s
38. Travis Kvapil Ford 165.865mph 54.261s + 1.159s
39. Chad McCumbee Toyota 165.688mph 54.319s + 1.217s
40. Tony Raines Chevrolet 165.411mph 54.410s + 1.308s
41. David Stremme Ford 165.277mph 54.454s + 1.352s
42. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 165.116mph 54.507s + 1.405s
43. Terry Cook Chevrolet 164.510mph 54.708s + 1.606s
44. Robby Gordon Toyota 164.456mph 54.726s + 1.624s
45. Kevin Conway Ford 161.513mph 55.723s + 2.621s