Kyle Busch claimed pole position for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star race. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver and his team delivered the best combined performance under the unique qualifying format, consisting of three flying laps and including a four-tire pit stop.
Ryan Newman and his Stewart-Haas crew had previously delivered the benchmark and stood at the top of the leaderboard for most of the session, but Busch, the last driver out on track after setting the pace in practice, bumped him from the top spot.
"We knew we'd be very quick here and I thought we had a good chance at the pole," said Busch, who was on pole for the same event a year ago. "I think we've got a little bit of a system going on here for this place. That's two in a row for us."
Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin, whose crew set the fastest pit stop time, will line up third in the grid for the 90-lap, five-segment race, with Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle starting beside him on the second row.
Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, the 2007 All-Star winner, rounded out the top five ahead of two-time event winner Jimmie Johnson, whose team won Thursday's pit crew challenge, handing the five-time champion the strategic advantage of the first pit stall.
Kasey Kahne was on a good qualifying run, but after completing the mandatory stop he lost control of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on cold tires between Turns 3 and 4, hitting the wall hard and being forced to switch to a back-up car.
Penske's Brad Keselowski set the fastest first-lap time and was provisionally third after completing his run, but two loose lug nuts meant he dropped down the order. Roush Fenway's Matt Kenseth and Phoenix Racing's Kurt Busch were among those hit by penalties as well.
Penske's AJ Allmendinger beat Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr. to pole for the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap race that gives entries for the All-Star Race to the top two finishers.
Qualifying format is three fast laps including pit stop
Pos Driver Team/Car Time* Gap
1. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 1m59.112s
2. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 1m59.821s + 0.709s
3. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 2m00.168s + 1.056s
4. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 2m00.420s + 1.308s
5. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 2m00.622s + 1.510s
6. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 2m01.076s + 1.964s
7. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 2m01.147s + 2.035s
8. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 2m01.297s + 2.185s
9. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 2m01.482s + 2.370s
10. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 2m01.721s + 2.609s
11. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 2m01.861s + 2.749s
12. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 2m02.292s + 3.180s
13. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 2m02.420s + 3.308s
14. David Ragan Front Row Ford 2m04.183s + 5.071s
15. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 2m05.351s + 6.239s
16. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 2m06.624s + 7.512s
17. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet 2m08.074s + 8.962s
18. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 2m08.784s + 9.672s
19. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 2m10.436s + 11.324s
20. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. AJ Allmendinger Penske Dodge 28.057s
2. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.265s + 0.208s
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 28.272s + 0.215s
4. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.467s + 0.410s
5. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 28.609s + 0.552s
6. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 28.620s + 0.563s
7. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganaasi Chevrolet 28.622s + 0.565s
8. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugtherty Toyota 28.667s + 0.610s
9. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 28.727s + 0.670s
10. David Stremme Inception Toyota 28.753s + 0.696s
11. Casey Mears Germain Ford 28.762s + 0.705s
12. David Reutimann Baldwin Chevrolet 28.778s + 0.721s
13. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 28.788s + 0.731s
14. Stephen Leicht Joe Falk Chevrolet 28.922s + 0.865s
15. Scott Speed Leavine Family Ford 28.927s + 0.870s
16. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.928s + 0.871s
17. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.955s + 0.898s
18. JJ Yeley Robinson-Blakeney Toyota 29.025s + 0.968s
19. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganaasi Chevrolet 29.047s + 0.990s
20. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 29.081s + 1.024s
21. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 29.188s + 1.131s
22. Tony Raines Baldwin Chevrolet 29.578s + 1.521s