Kyle Busch claims All-Star pole

Kyle Busch claimed pole position for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star race after he and the Joe Gibbs team were fastest through the unique qualifying format

Kyle Busch claims All-Star pole

Drivers had to complete three flying laps including a four-tyre pitstop, and Busch and his crew were quicker than the opposition, beating Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer, who had just set the benchmark before Busch went out last and bumped him from pole.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had set the pace earlier in practice, where he looked both quick and consistent at a track where he has yet to win in a Cup car.

"The guys unloaded a really, really good car today," said Busch following his second career All-Star pole. "Dave Rogers [crew chief] did a great job. All the guys here that work on this thing gave me a really good piece. I did have to do my part. I thought I gave it a little bit too much. I guess it was just enough.

"Again, a fast lap - fast guys on pit road. They deserve to win that pit crew challenge. One of these years we need to get that with them... Hopefully, we can keep it rolling into tomorrow."

Bowyer will start Saturday's event from second, ahead of Roush Fenway Racing duo Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Veteran Mark Martin rounded out the top five for Hendrick Motorsports in a one-off appearance at the wheel of the #25 Chevrolet.

"That Kyle Busch is a pain in everybody's butt isn't he? He's pretty good," said Bowyer. "That is a fun, fun qualifying effort. I'm telling you, it is nerve-wracking on everybody's part. You're trying to hit your marks right. Doing everything we normally do, but it is such a different format, it makes you panic.

"Coming on to pit road, you are like 'man, don't get too much but don't stop too soon'. Just a fun, fun atmosphere to be involved in. Happy with our efforts, happy to be on the front row."

Reigning Cup champion and two-time All-Star winner Jimmie Johnson will race the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy from 11th on the grid, beside his team-mate Jeff Gordon, a three-time winner of the event.

Denny Hamlin, whose team won Thursday's pit crew challenge, will start 15th among the 18-car line up which is set to add three more drivers. The top two finishers of the 40-lap Sprint Showdown, where David Ragan and AJ Allmendinger will start from the front row, will get into Saturday's main event.

One more driver will get in through the fans' votes, the winner being unveiled before the start of the main event. Dale Earnhardt Jr, who was not eligible for an entry into the All-Star this year, is favourite to take that spot if he does not earn a way in through the Sprint Showdown.

The All-Star race will be run over 100 laps consisting of a 50-lap segment, two of 20 laps, plus a final sprint of 10.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                     Time       Gap
 1.  Kyle Busch          Gibbs Toyota                 1m59.191s
 2.  Clint Bowyer        Childress Chevrolet          1m59.666s  + 0.475s
 3.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford            2m00.232s  + 1.041s
 4.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            2m00.683s  + 1.492s
 5.  Mark Martin         Hendrick Chevrolet           2m01.194s  + 2.003s
 6.  Tony Stewart        Stewart Haas Chevrolet       2m01.206s  + 2.015s
 7.  Kasey Kahne         Red Bull Toyota              2m01.534s  + 2.343s
 8.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  2m01.545s  + 2.354s
 9.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  2m01.814s  + 2.623s
10.  Ryan Newman         Stewart Haas Chevrolet       2m02.046s  + 2.855s
11.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet           2m02.136s  + 2.945s
12.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet           2m02.144s  + 2.953s
13.  Matt Kenseth        Roush Fenway Ford            2m02.253s  + 3.062s
14.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          2m02.581s  + 3.390s
15.  Denny Hamlin        Gibbs Toyota                 2m02.613s  + 3.422s
16.  Kurt Busch          Penske Dodge                 2m03.438s  + 4.247s
17.  Regan Smith         Furniture Row Chevrolet      2m04.528s  + 5.337s
18.  David Reutimann     Waltrip Toyota               2m27.068s  + 27.877s
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