BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch knows there’s no better place to start at Bristol Motor Speedway than up front, and the smile on his face after winning the pole for the Food City 500 is all the evidence you need.
“Adam Steven and my guys, they do an awesome job, and the preparation and everything that we got going on right now has been really good for our Skittles Camry. Can’t say enough about JGR and TRD, Costa Mesa, all those guys with the motors and stuff too. It’s nice to come out here and grab a front row starting spot, but I got to be careful and mindful. I got to make sure that I have a good race car, because anytime I’ve ever started up front, I have not finished up front. And anytime I’ve ever started in the back, I’ve finished up front. We’re trying to change things here this time around this weekend. Thankfully, we’ve got a fast race car to do that with. We’ll just keep working at it, and find some more things tomorrow that’ll help us for Sunday.”
The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota took pole position with a final round time of 14.895 and a speed of 128.822 mph.
Following him are brother Kurt, with a time of 14.897 and a speed of 128.804 mph, Brad Keselowski with a time of 14.960 and a speed of 128.262 mph, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with a time of 14.961 and a speed of 128.253 mph and Ryan Blaney with a time of 14.969 128.185 mph.
Most of the cars didn’t hit the track in mass in the first round until the final four minutes and 20 seconds. Kyle Busch topped the chart with ease, followed by brother Kurt, Joey Logano, Paul Menard and Ryan Blaney.
It was the same in the second round, only most of the field waited even later in the round (less than two minutes remaining) before departing pit road. The Busch brothers swapped positions in the running order for the second round, with Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson rounding out the Top-five.
Kevin Harvick, who wrecked his primary car in the closing minutes practice earlier today, didn’t turn a lap in qualifying and will start last. Jimmie Johnson will join him in the back, after his team changed a cut left-front tire (you’re required to start on the tires on which you qualified).
Some bad luck/traffic in round 2 of qualifying has us starting 17th… and then the amazing news of a cut left front tire means we are now starting last. ?
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) April 13, 2018