Penske's Kurt Busch claimed a surprise pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas, edging Earnhardt Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya.
Busch had been unhappy with the balance of his car during Friday's practice sessions and actually ended up spinning out of Turn 4 during a qualifying simulation run late in the final hour of practice.
However, his low position on the leaderboard ended up as a lucky break as based on this year's qualifying rules, the order for cars to go on track is determined by the best practice times, the fastest going out last when track conditions are usually at their best.
With Cup qualifying taking place before noon this time, those running first in the order after being slowest in practice got the coolest track temperatures of the session as the sun quickly brought grip levels down for most of the fastest from Friday's practice.
Montoya ran fourth in the order and set the benchmark before Busch came out next and pipped him for what turned out to be pole position for Sunday's 400-miler at Kansas.
"This is a great feeling, especially after yesterday when we spun in practice and had to repair the car with some of the front end damage," said Busch after Penske's second consecutive pole of the season, following Brad Keselowski's at Charlotte last week.
"The way the practice was a struggle for us, no we didn't expect to be in the pole and that early [run] definitely helped us, it didn't hurt... This is definitely a surprise, we're happy for it. It's been almost a year since we had a pole."
Cloud cover late in the session allowed some to get close to Busch's time, his brother Kyle actually ending up about a tenth short of pole and placed third for Joe Gibbs Racing.
His team-mate Joey Logano - fastest in practice - was fifth ahead of the similar Toyota of Red Bull's Brian Vickers, putting three Camrys in the top five on the grid.
Jamie McMurray, also an early runner in the order, ended up in sixth ahead of points leader Carl Edwards, who looks strong ahead of Sunday's race as well as his Roush Fenway team-mates, once again fast on the 1.5-mile tracks.
Meanwhile reigning champion Jimmie Johnson had his worst qualifying of the season, battling a loose car to end up 31st on the grid a week after his first DNF of the year due to an engine failure at Charlotte.
David Stremme ran last in the order with the group of those having to qualify on time, setting the fastest time among them with 29th place. Tony Raines and TJ Bell failed to qualify.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 30.901s
2. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 31.007s + 0.106s
3. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 31.020s + 0.119s
4. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 31.036s + 0.135s
5. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 31.061s + 0.160s
6. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 31.087s + 0.186s
7. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 31.097s + 0.196s
8. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 31.104s + 0.203s
9. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 31.108s + 0.207s
10. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 31.125s + 0.224s
11. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 31.138s + 0.237s
12. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 31.144s + 0.243s
13. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 31.149s + 0.248s
14. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 31.169s + 0.268s
15. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 31.179s + 0.278s
16. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 31.196s + 0.295s
17. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 31.208s + 0.307s
18. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 31.231s + 0.330s
19. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 31.240s + 0.339s
20. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 31.255s + 0.354s
21. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 31.258s + 0.357s
22. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 31.259s + 0.358s
23. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 31.264s + 0.363s
24. Landon Cassill Phoenix Chevrolet 31.265s + 0.364s
25. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 31.303s + 0.402s
26. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 31.353s + 0.452s
27. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 31.389s + 0.488s
28. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 31.417s + 0.516s
29. David Stremme Inception Chevrolet 31.418s + 0.517s
30. Travis Kvapil Front Row Ford 31.446s + 0.545s
31. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 31.473s + 0.572s
32. JJ Yeley Whitney Chevrolet 31.484s + 0.583s
33. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 31.487s + 0.586s
34. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 31.497s + 0.596s
35. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 31.533s + 0.632s
36. Scott Riggs Whitney Chevrolet 31.582s + 0.681s
37. Michael McDowell HP Toyota 31.616s + 0.715s
38. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 31.625s + 0.724s
39. Andy Lally TRG Chevrolet 31.655s + 0.754s
40. Patrick Carpentier FAS Lane Ford 31.852s + 0.951s
41. Johnny Sauter Gordon Dodge 31.975s + 1.074s
42. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 32.173s + 1.272s
43. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 31.753s + 0.852s
Did not qualify:
Tony Raines Front Row Ford 31.820s + 0.919s
TJ Bell LTD Toyota 31.846s + 0.945s