Phoenix NASCAR: Kyle Busch takes pole, Jimmie Johnson struggles
|By Diego Mejia||Saturday, November 10th 2012, 03:32 GMT|
Kyle Busch claimed pole position for Sunday's penultimate NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase round at Phoenix while championship leader Jimmie Johnson struggled.
Fresh from a strong third-place finish behind title combatants Johnson and Brad Keselowski at Texas last week, Joe Gibbs Toyota driver Busch set the pace in Friday practice at Phoenix.
He backed up that speed later with a first flying lap in qualifying that knocked Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr from provisional pole position.
Busch's lap of 25.934 seconds, at an average speed of 138.766 mph, set a new track record for the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval.
Behind him and Truex, Busch's team-mate Denny Hamlin made it a top-three sweep for Toyota.
Hamlin finished ahead of last year's event winner Kasey Kahne, who was the best of the Chevrolet drivers in fourth, and Aric Almirola's Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.
For the first time in the last five races, and for only the third time in the Chase, Keselowski qualified ahead of championship leader Johnson.
Penske driver Keselowski finished the session in 14th, while five-time champion Johnson - a four-time winner at Phoenix - will see the green flag from 24th. The result was Johnson's worst qualifying of the Chase so far and among his lowest of the season
Michael McDowell was the best of the non-guaranteed drivers in 28th while JJ Yeley failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 25.943s 2. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 26.046s + 0.103s 3. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 26.167s + 0.224s 4. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 26.186s + 0.243s 5. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 26.237s + 0.294s 6. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 26.276s + 0.333s 7. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 26.279s + 0.336s 8. Regan Smith Phoenix Chevrolet 26.302s + 0.359s 9. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 26.303s + 0.360s 10. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 26.303s + 0.360s 11. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 26.310s + 0.367s 12. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 26.331s + 0.388s 13. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 26.339s + 0.396s 14. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 26.350s + 0.407s 15. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 26.376s + 0.433s 16. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 26.386s + 0.443s 17. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 26.401s + 0.458s 18. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 26.402s + 0.459s 19. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 26.418s + 0.475s 20. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 26.428s + 0.485s 21. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 26.470s + 0.527s 22. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 26.489s + 0.546s 23. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 26.559s + 0.616s 24. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 26.580s + 0.637s 25. Casey Mears Germain Ford 26.625s + 0.682s 26. Sam Hornish Jr Penske Dodge 26.633s + 0.690s 27. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 26.677s + 0.734s 28. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 26.677s + 0.734s 29. David Ragan Front Row Ford 26.680s + 0.737s 30. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 26.776s + 0.833s 31. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 26.791s + 0.848s 32. David Stremme Inception Toyota 26.797s + 0.854s 33. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 26.826s + 0.883s 34. David Reutimann Xxxtreme Ford 26.864s + 0.921s 35. Stephen Leicht Circle Sport Chevrolet 26.942s + 0.999s 36. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 26.951s + 1.008s 37. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 27.077s + 1.134s 38. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 27.105s + 1.162s 39. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 27.193s + 1.250s 40. Jason Leffler Humphrey Smith Toyota 27.412s + 1.469s 41. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford 27.704s + 1.761s 42. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 27.974s + 2.031s 43. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 27.678s + 1.735s Did not qualify: JJ Yeley Max Q Chevrolet 28.334s + 2.391s