With his pit crew executing three flawless services and the driver prevailing through three head-to-head drag races from pit road to the finish line, Kyle Busch earned the pole position for the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 21.
The two-time Cup Series champion from Las Vegas, Nevada, was one of eight competitors along with William Byron, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson to transfer from the single-car qualifying session as part of the sport’s new qualifying format for those already guaranteed a spot for the annual All-Star event. He then went head-to-head and prevailed against teammate Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson through two rounds of the new elimination bracket qualifying session that placed heavy emphasis towards the pit crew performing a four-tire pit stop in a side-by-side duel with two competitors before the competitors exited pit road with no speed limit and raced one another back to the start/finish line to transfer to the following round.
After transferring all the way to the third and final elimination bracket qualifying session, Busch received another strong pit stop from his pit crew before he outlasted a single-lap duel from the pit road exit against Ryan Blaney to beat Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang back to the start/finish line and claim the top-starting spot for the sport’s annual All-Star event scheduled for Sunday, May 22, with a million dollars on the line.
Busch’s pole for the 2022 All-Star event marks his third time starting on pole for the event and his first since 2012. He will attempt to win his second All-Star event since winning his first at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2017.
“Anytime you’re able to showcase the pit crew’s ability and have them and their athleticism in this competition, in this qualifying format, I enjoy that,” Busch, whose best qualifying lap occurred at 189.115 mph in 28.554 seconds, said. “I think that’s my most favorite part of the year is coming to the All-Star Race, and whether it’s been Charlotte and coming down pit road and sliding into the box and whatnot. But having those guys go over the wall certainly means a lot, especially the No. 18 bunch that I’ve had a lot of success with over the years. It’s obviously changed up a few times, most recently, but you know, we’ve always been a threat to be reckoned with when it comes to getting on the pole for the All-Star Race. So it feels good to have that today.”
“This is a cool event,” Ben Beshore, crew chief for Kyle Busch, added. “It’s something new. A good way to showcase our pit crew. They did a great job. They put in a lot of hard work this offseason and throughout the beginning of the year. and they clicked off three really good stops there and got it. So that’s exciting.”
Blaney, who lost to Kyle Busch in the final elimination bracket session, will start on the front row in second place as he pursues his first All-Star victory.
Teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson, both of whom were eliminated following the second elimination bracket round, will start third and fourth, respectively.
Kurt Busch, Ross Chastain, Martin Truex Jr. and Aric Almirola, all of whom were eliminated following the first elimination bracket round, will start fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Joey Logano, the first competitor who did not transfer to the elimination round bracket, will start the All-Star event in ninth place as he will share the fifth row with AJ Allmendinger. They will start in front of Chase Briscoe, rookie Austin Cindric, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell and Alex Bowman, respectively.
1. Kyle Busch, 189.115 mph, 28.554 seconds
2. Ryan Blaney, 189.043 mph, 28.565 seconds
3. William Byron, 189.288 mph, 28.528 seconds
4. Kyle Larson, 188.600 mph, 28.632 seconds
5. Kurt Busch, 188.679 mph, 28.620 seconds
6. Ross Chastain, 188.003 mph, 28.723 seconds
7. Martin Truex Jr., 187.679 mph, 28.620 seconds
8. Aric Almirola, 187.715 mph, 28.767 seconds
9. Joey Logano, 187.650 mph, 28.777 seconds
10. AJ Allmendinger, 187.454 mph, 28.807 seconds
11. Chase Briscoe, 187.357 mph, 28.822 seconds
12. Austin Cindric, 187.305 mph, 28.830 seconds
13. Chase Elliott, 187.298 mph, 28.831 seconds
14. Christopher Bell, 187.279 mph, 28.834 seconds
15. Kevin Harvick, 187.084 mph, 28.864 seconds
16. Denny Hamlin, 186.909 mph, 28.891 seconds
17. Bubba Wallace, 186.825 mph, 28.891 seconds
18. Brad Keselowski, 186.800 mph, 28.908 seconds
19. Michael McDowell, 186.625 mph, 28.935 seconds
20. Alex Bowman, 186.136 mph, 29.011 seconds
*Bold indicates finalists of elimination bracket qualifying session.
Earlier in the day, Tyler Reddick, who is one of 16 competitors that are currently not eligible for the main event, claimed the pole position for the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Open after posting a pole-winning, single qualifying lap at 186.981 mph at 28.880 seconds. Joining him on the front row will be Daniel Suarez, who posted a fast qualifying lap at 186.903 mph in 28.892 seconds.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Erik Jones, Chris Buescher, Justin Haley, Austin Dillon, Corey LaJoie, rookie Harrison Burton and Cole Custer will start the Open in the top 10, respectively.
The All-Star Open, which will occur prior to the All-Star Race, will consist of three stages: 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps, respectively. The winner of each stage along with the Fan Vote winner will transfer their way into the All-Star Race, with the main event featuring a total of 24 competitors.
1. Tyler Reddick, 186.981 mph, 28.880 seconds
2. Daniel Suarez, 186.903 mph, 28.892 seconds
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 186.490 mph, 28.956 seconds
4. Erik Jones, 186.323 mph, 28.982 seconds
5. Chris Buescher, 186.188 mph, 29.003 seconds
6. Justin Haley, 186.027 mph, 29.028 seconds
7. Austin Dillon, 185.503 mph, 29.110 seconds
8. Corey LaJoie, 184.963 mph, 29.195 seconds
9. Harrison Burton, 184.780 mph, 29.224 seconds
10. Cole Custer, 184.767 mph, 29.226 seconds
11. Landon Cassill, 184.382 mph, 29.287 seconds
12. Ty Dillon, 183.698 mph, 29.396 seconds
13. Cody Ware, 183.014 mph, 29.506 seconds
14. Todd Gilliland, 181.519 mph, 29.749 seconds
15. Garrett Smithley, 180.632 mph, 29.895 seconds
16. BJ McLeod, 180.439 mph, 29.927 seconds
The All-Star Open is scheduled to occur at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1 while the All-Star Race will follow suit at 8 p.m. ET on FS1 on Sunday, May 22.