Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kyle Busch Captures Pole in Tight New Hampshire Cup Qualifying

Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

Past the halfway point in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the tour's summer run enters a New England state to race at the 1.06-mile oval known as New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Nicknamed the 'Magic Mile', this weekend's 301 laps of competition is sought by many drivers and teams as a chance to summon on wishes for strength as they seek berths in the quickly-approaching 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

In Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying session for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301, the Interstate Batteries sponsored #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch sailed around the New Hampshire Motor Speedway at a 133.417 miles per hour average speed. The first pole of the 2012 season for Busch and the #18 car, the New Hampshire race on Sunday will be the first time since Watkins Glen this August that the pairing would start at the front of a NASCAR Sprint Cup field.

The qualifying success could not have come at a better time for Kyle Busch. The past 6 races have been a disaster for Kyle Busch and the #18 team. Only a single top-10 finish in the half dozen races has the Joe Gibbs Racing driver intent that the pole for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 could play a part in returning to more common form in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Short of just 0.003 seconds from the polesitter's time in qualifying, Kasey Kahne put his Hendrick Motorsports #5 Chevrolet on the front row becoming the lone non-Toyota in the top-5. Kahne also fractured what would have been an all-Joe Gibbs Racing 1-2 by placing ahead of the #11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin. Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Martin Truex Jr and Clint Bowyer secured the final two spots in the top-5 for the start of the New Hampshire race Sunday.

Defending winner of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 Ryan Newman starts in 6th place in the #39 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. Earlier this week, the announcement that the US Army would not be returning to the team added increasing complexity to the negotiations for a contract extension with the driver Newman beyond 2012.

Hendrick Motorsport four-car fleet secured top-10 starting positions Friday with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr taking 7th through 9th on the grid for Sunday. Daytona Coke Zero 400 winner Tony Stewart put his #14 Chevrolet into 10th place.

With a 43-car set for Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301, only the #19 car driven by Mike Bliss failed to make the race.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
LENOX Industrial Tools 301
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Qualifying Results

Pos # Car # Driver Sponsor/ Car Make

1 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota
2 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
3 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
4 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
5 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
6 39 Ryan Newman ARMY ROTC Chevrolet
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
8 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet
10 14 Tony Stewart MOBIL 1 / Office Depot Chevrolet
11 16 Greg Biffle 3M / WB Mason / Post-it Ford
12 29 Kevin Harvick Rheem Chevrolet
13 27 Paul Menard Menards / Duracell Chevrolet
14 51 Kurt Busch Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet
15 55 Brian Vickers / Aaron's Toyota
16 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
17 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row / Farm American Chevrolet
18 47 Bobby Labonte Luke & Associates Toyota
19 34 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford
20 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
21 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal / LENOX Ford
22 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
23 43 Aric Almirola Medallion Financial Ford
24 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Shell Pennzoil / AAA Dodge
25 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
26 10 David Reutimann Mohawk Northeast Chevrolet
27 17 Matt Kenseth NESN Ford
28 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops / Allstate Chevrolet
29 83 Landon Cassill Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
30 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
31 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Degree Chevrolet
32 26 Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
33 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford
34 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota
35 36 Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
36 98 Michael McDowell Phil Parsons Racing Ford
37 32 Ken Schrader Federated Auto Parts Ford
38 49 JJ Yeley Robinson-Blakeney Racing Toyota
39 38 David Gilliland Taco Bell Ford
40 30 David Stremme Inception Motorsports Toyota
41 23 Scott Riggs North Texas Pipe Chevrolet
42 79 Kelly Bires Team Kyle / Bestway Disposal Ford
43 33 Stephen Leicht Chevrolet

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