Sports

Kyle Busch wins NASCAR Quaker State 400 pole in Kentucky

SPARTA, KY - JULY 07: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, poses for a photo after winning the pole award during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2017 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Kyle Busch poses after winning the pole for Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400.

SPARTA, Ky. — Kyle Busch set a track record to earn his first Kentucky Speedway pole before thunderstorms shortened NASCAR Cup Series qualifying on Friday.

Busch, a two-time winner of Saturday night’s 400-mile race, clocked 190.282 miles per hour in the No. 18 Toyota for his third pole this year and 22nd of his career. Third in points, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver seeks his first Cup win since last summer.

Martin Truex Jr. will start second with Busch’s JGR teammate Matt Kenseth third as Toyotas claimed four of the top five spots in the 40-car field. Jamie McMurray (189.713) starts fourth in a Chevy with JGR’s Denny Hamlin (189.687) next.

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The pole was the second of two Busch claimed on Friday; he also earned the top spot for the Xfinity Series race.

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Busch was preparing for the third and final round of Quaker State 400 qualifying before NASCAR officials abruptly cancelled the segment and postponed the Xfinity Series race to noon Saturday because of the threatening weather system. He smiled as he climbed out of his car to a suddenly-free evening, rest he will certainly need to handle a double-duty Saturday for the second weekend in a row.

The good news is he’ll have a prime starting spot for both events in the latest chapter of his Kentucky dominance.

‘‘The guys have done an amazing job this year at building faster race cars as we've gone on this year,’’ Busch said of his JGR team.

‘‘We started out a little behind. Just right there, so close having an opportunity to win each and every week, we just need to bust through and get it to happen.’’