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Kyle Busch claims NASCAR Sprint Cup pole at Loudon

Kyle BuschKyle Busch claimed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole position of the season in qualifying for Sunday's race at Loudon.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, currently the leading candidate to claim a 'wildcard' berth in this year's Cup play-off, was the fastest earlier during Friday practice and then backed up his speed on his qualifying run, beating Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne by just three thousandths of a second.

"We unloaded with a really, really good race car," said Busch. "We just had to back up our practice time from earlier today, we were able to do that but bettered just a little bit to put us back on the pole. I feel like it's a pretty good race car too, so we'll fine tune it a little more tomorrow."

Busch's JGR team-mate Denny Hamlin was third fastest as he continues to recover from the back issues than hampered him last week at Daytona. The Michael Waltrip Racing Camrys of Martin Truex Jr and two-time Loudon winner Clint Bowyer made it an impressive four Toyotas among the five fastest in qualifying.

Stewart Haas team-mates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart, who swept last year's races at the track, were sixth and 10th fastest respectively, split by the Hendrick trio of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle was the best Ford in 11th, while points leader Matt Kenseth was only 27th.

Josh Wise was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 32nd, while Mike Bliss failed to make the field after brushing the wall during his run.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                     Time     Gap
 1.  Kyle Busch          Gibbs Toyota                 28.548s
 2.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet           28.551s  + 0.003s
 3.  Denny Hamlin        Gibbs Toyota                 28.552s  + 0.004s
 4.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota               28.565s  + 0.017s
 5.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota               28.569s  + 0.021s
 6.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       28.578s  + 0.030s
 7.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet           28.583s  + 0.035s
 8.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet           28.595s  + 0.047s
 9.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet           28.628s  + 0.080s
10.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       28.651s  + 0.103s
11.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford            28.665s  + 0.117s
12.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          28.666s  + 0.118s
13.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet          28.730s  + 0.182s
14.  Kurt Busch          Phoenix Chevrolet            28.735s  + 0.187s
15.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota               28.762s  + 0.214s
16.  Joey Logano         Gibbs Toyota                 28.762s  + 0.214s
17.  Regan Smith         Furniture Row Chevrolet      28.769s  + 0.221s
18.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota         28.782s  + 0.234s
19.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford               28.797s  + 0.249s
20.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                   28.811s  + 0.263s
21.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            28.814s  + 0.266s
22.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Dodge                 28.836s  + 0.288s
23.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                   28.891s  + 0.343s
24.  Sam Hornish Jr      Penske Dodge                 28.952s  + 0.404s
25.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet          28.972s  + 0.424s
26.  David Reutimann     Baldwin Chevrolet            29.016s  + 0.468s
27.  Matt Kenseth        Roush Fenway Ford            29.023s  + 0.475s
28.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  29.023s  + 0.475s
29.  Landon Cassill      BK Toyota                    29.034s  + 0.486s
30.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                    29.112s  + 0.564s
31.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  29.150s  + 0.602s
32.  Josh Wise           Front Row Ford               29.267s  + 0.719s
33.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                 29.336s  + 0.788s
34.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                 29.342s  + 0.794s
35.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet            29.371s  + 0.823s
36.  Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                 29.406s  + 0.858s
37.  Ken Schrader        FAS Lane Ford                29.453s  + 0.905s
38.  JJ Yeley            Robinson-Blakeney Toyota     29.463s  + 0.915s
39.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford               29.490s  + 0.942s
40.  David Stremme       Inception Toyota             29.504s  + 0.956s
41.  Scott Riggs         R3 Chevrolet                 29.557s  + 1.009s
42.  Kelly Bires         Go Green Ford                29.637s  + 1.089s
43.  Stephen Leicht      Circle Sport Chevrolet       29.714s  + 1.166s

Did not qualify:

     Mike Bliss          Humphrey Smith Toyota        29.740s  + 1.192s
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Kahne beats Hamlin to Loudon win