Kyle Busch takes NASCAR Sprint Cup pole at Watkins Glen

Kyle Busch claimed his first road course pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup after heading qualifying for Sunday's race at Watkins Glen

Kyle Busch takes NASCAR Sprint Cup pole at Watkins Glen

The Joe Gibbs Toyota driver was the last in the order to complete his flying lap after setting the pace in first practice. Just as AJ Allmendinger was ready to celebrate his second career pole, Busch bumped him from the top spot with a record lap of 1m10.767s - beating the Richard Petty Motorsports driver's benchmark by 0.2s second.

Busch, a former winner at The Glen, claimed his eighth Cup pole, but his first of the year.

"All in all the lap was really good," Busch said. "It seemed to be a pretty clean lap. There's a couple of moments in which I slipped, I don't think I did that great but we were able to get the throttle down and accelerate out of the turns as we needed and I think that's where a lot of the time was made up.

"I've won races at road courses but had yet to be the fastest guy for one lap. Today we did that, Joey Logano did it at [Sears Point] so Joe Gibbs Racing sweeps the road course poles which is great. Hopefully we can get a win."

Allmendinger will start beside Busch on the front row, having shown strong race pace during Friday's practice sessions.

Allmendinger's team-mate Marcos Ambrose had looked favourite to claim pole, but his qualifying run was not as clean as his final practice, when he had been the only driver to break into the 69-second bracket.

The Australian showed enough race pace however to be regarded as a strong favorite for victory.

"I felt a little unfortunate... just overdrove it a little bit," said Ambrose. "But we're proud of our efforts. It would have been great to be on the front row with AJ, but we'll start third, we've got a great package, I feel really confident and we'll just see how the day unfolds.

"It's going to be interesting to see how guys do on the strategy and break-wear and all those factors that come into play on a road course. Hopefully we make the right judgement calls."

Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson held provisional pole for a while and ended up fourth ahead of last year's winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who complained of a loose car on his flying lap. The Earnhardt Ganassi driver was among the most consistent on race-trim on Friday's final practice.

The Stewart-Haas Racing duo of Ryan Newman and five-time event winner Tony Stewart were sixth and seventh ahead of points leader Carl Edwards, the fastest Ford runner for Roush Fenway. Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr and Furniture Row's Regan Smith rounded out the top 10.

Kurt Busch, who had claimed pole for the Nationwide Series race earlier in the day with a new track record, didn't fare as well on his Cup qualifying run and ended up only 27th, his Penske Dodge team-mate Brad Keselowski ending up 12th.

The biggest loser of the session was Kyle Busch's team-mate Denny Hamlin, who lost control of his car at the exit of Turn 5 and ended up hitting the barrier. He will thus see the green flag wave from the back of the grid.

Joe Nemechek was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers, while Dave Blaney, Brian Simo and PJ Jones failed to make the field.

Sunday's weather forecast has teams fearing a possible washout for race day, showing an 80 per cent chance of rain.

 Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 1m09.767s 2. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 1m09.977s + 0.210s 3. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 1m10.009s + 0.242s 4. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 1m10.188s + 0.421s 5. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 1m10.193s + 0.426s 6. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 1m10.383s + 0.616s 7. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 1m10.426s + 0.659s 8. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 1m10.446s + 0.679s 9. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 1m10.578s + 0.811s 10. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 1m10.594s + 0.827s 11. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 1m10.608s + 0.841s 12. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 1m10.612s + 0.845s 13. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 1m10.614s + 0.847s 14. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 1m10.678s + 0.911s 15. Boris Said Phoenix Chevrolet 1m10.729s + 0.962s 16. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 1m10.815s + 1.048s 17. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 1m10.871s + 1.104s 18. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 1m11.130s + 1.363s 19. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 1m11.213s + 1.446s 20. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota  1m11.312s + 1.545s 21. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 1m11.323s + 1.556s 22. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 1m11.339s + 1.572s 23. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 1m11.407s + 1.640s 24. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 1m11.413s + 1.646s 25. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 1m11.431s + 1.664s 26. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 1m11.443s + 1.676s 27. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 1m11.454s + 1.687s 28. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 1m11.456s + 1.689s 29. Scott Speed Max Q Ford 1m11.487s + 1.720s 30. JJ Yeley Whitney Chevrolet 1m11.543s + 1.776s 31. Robby Gordon Gordon Dodge 1m11.605s + 1.838s 32. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 1m11.733s + 1.966s 33. Michael McDowell HP Toyota 1m11.733s + 1.966s 34. TJ Bell LTD Chevrolet 1m11.749s + 1.982s 35. Andrew Ranger FAS Lane Ford 1m12.075s + 2.308s 36. Andy Lally TRG Chevrolet 1m12.179s + 2.412s 37. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 1m12.218s + 2.451s 38. Ron Fellows Baldwin Chevrolet 1m12.299s + 2.532s 39. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 1m12.497s + 2.730s 40. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 1m12.641s + 2.874s 41. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 1m13.293s + 3.526s 42. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota - - 43. Terry Labonte FAS Lane Ford 1m13.587s + 3.820s 
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Feud between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch drags on to Watkins Glen

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Rain forces NASCAR to postpone Watkins Glen Cup race until Monday

Rain forces NASCAR to postpone Watkins Glen Cup race until Monday
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