NASCAR News: Busch edges Johnson for Coca Cola 600 pole

Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday's Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after NASCAR's first qualifying session since its return

NASCAR News: Busch edges Johnson for Coca Cola 600 pole

The Coca Cola 600 is the third Cup Series race to be run this week, after two races were run at Darlington last Sunday and Wednesday - marking motorsports return for the first time since the world was forced into lockdown by coronavirus.

William Byron's 180.264mph lap was enough to secure him the provisional pole early in the session.

But it would not hold, as team-mate Jimmie Johnson, a four-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600, took over the top spot with 181.214mph lap.

With no practice, the track was treacherous for some. J.J. Yeley cut down a left rear tyre on his run after a significant tyre rub during his lap.

Matt DiBenedetto slammed the wall on the exit of Turn 4 during his lap, forcing the Wood Brothers to roll out the backup car.

Soon after, Aric Almirola spun sideways, making slight contact with the outside wall as his car slid into the infield.

Several drivers took a shot at Johnson's lap, but none could seem to top the #48 machine.

That was until Chip Ganassi Racing's Busch finally unseated Johnson in the closing moments of the session, taking pole position by just 0.009s (181.269mph).

For 2004 Cup champion Busch, this is his 28th career pole and his first in NACAR's longest race.

"I'm just so proud of Matt McCall (crew chief) and all our guys and the way we have to communicate right now and get through everything, such as those last-minute details and those fine adjustments," Busch said.

"It's an awesome pole. I was really more geared up for downforce and being ready for 600 miles.

"This means Matt McCall has something up his sleeve and we should be good tonight!"

This will be Johnson's seventh front row start at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his fourth in the 600.

Chase Elliott will start third, Matt Kenseth fourth, Tyler Reddick fifth, Austin Dillon sixth, Joey Logano seventh, Martin Truex Jr. eighth, Brad Keselowski ninth, and William Byron tenth.

Complete Coca Cola 600 Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 29.790s - 1
2 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.799s 0.009s 1
3 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.834s 0.044s 1
4 Matt Kenseth Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 29.847s 0.057s 1
5 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 29.850s 0.060s 1
6 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 29.877s 0.087s 1
7 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 29.925s 0.135s 1
8 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 29.946s 0.156s 1
9 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 29.953s 0.163s 1
10 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.956s 0.166s 1
11 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 30.019s 0.229s 1
12 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 30.020s 0.230s 1
13 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 30.027s 0.237s 1
14 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 30.033s 0.243s 1
15 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing Toyota 30.042s 0.252s 1
16 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 30.059s 0.269s 1
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 30.071s 0.281s 1
18 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 30.072s 0.282s 1
19 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Ford 30.081s 0.291s 1
20 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 30.095s 0.305s 1
21 Ross Chastain Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 30.150s 0.360s 1
22 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 30.156s 0.366s 1
23 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 30.172s 0.382s 1
24 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 30.183s 0.393s 1
25 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford 30.254s 0.464s 1
26 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 30.313s 0.523s 1
27 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 30.324s 0.534s 1
28 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 30.334s 0.544s 1
29 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 30.352s 0.562s 1
30 Quin Houff StarCom Racing Chevrolet 30.848s 1.058s 1
31 Gray Gaulding Rick Ware Racing Ford 31.160s 1.370s 1
32 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 31.234s 1.444s 1
33 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Ford 31.452s 1.662s 1
34 J.J. Yeley Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 31.480s 1.690s 1
35 Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 31.502s 1.712s 1
36 B.J. McLeod BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet 31.590s 1.800s 1
37 Daniel Suarez Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 31.858s 2.068s 1
38 Garrett Smithley Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 31.971s 2.181s 1
39 Joey Gase Petty Ware Racing Ford 33.538s 3.748s 1
40 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford - - 0


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