Kurt Busch had never run all that well in Kansas, and a spinout during practice Friday certainly didn’t make it look as if he was about to turn that around.
Less than 24 hours and a few tweaks later, Busch captured the pole for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., and reversed a decade of tough luck at the 1.5-mile track.
Busch, who had never started higher than seventh in 10 career starts in Kansas and has never finished in the top five, topped the leaderboard at 174.752 mph in his No. 22 Dodge on Saturday.
Busch snapped out of an extended funk with a fourth-place finish last week in Charlotte. He had to have front end damage repaired following Friday’s spin, and that and other changes helped produce his first pole since Michigan last June and the 13th of his career.
“I have to thank my guys for standing behind me, not just through (Friday) but through some of the tough times we’ve been through as of late,” Busch said. “It’s an amazing world, the world of motorsports. One day you’re down, the next day you’re up.”
Juan Pablo Montoya will start second in today’s race, followed by Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers.
Joey Logano qualified fifth, giving Toyota three cars in the top five.
Jamie McMurray, who grew up in nearby Joplin, Mo., and visited the tornado-ravaged town Thursday, will start sixth.
Sprint Cup points leader Carl Edwards, also a Missouri native, will start seventh – the highest of any of the Fords in the field.
This is the first summer Sprint Cup race on the schedule for Kansas, which added an event for 2011.
Justin Allgaier caught and passed Carl Edwards on the final lap as both cars ran out of fuel Saturday night and won the Nationwide STP 300 at his home track, the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Edwards had led most of the night, fought off an earlier challenge from Elliott Sadler and was apparently on his way to a fourth series victory of the year.
But Allgaier sped past coming into the third turn and Edwards couldn’t respond because he was out of fuel. And then seconds later so was Allgaier, who coasted to the finish line for the win with Trevor Bayne closing fast.
Clint Bowyer finally won a NASCAR race in his home state, dominating throughout the trucks race at Kansas Speedway to snap Kyle Busch’s three-race winning streak.
Bowyer, who grew up 90 miles away in Emporia, started second and quickly took control of the 167-lap, 250-mile race on the 1.5-mile tri-oval.
A late caution forced a restart with 30 laps to go, but Bowyer easily pulled ahead of Johnny Sauter and cruised to his third career trucks win and first this season. Sauter finished second.
• NASCAR officials are investigating a physical altercation involving team owner Richard Childress and driver Kyle Busch in the garage area following the truck series race.
According to a member of a team who asked not to be identified, Childress took off his jewelry before approaching Busch in the garage area and struck him with his fist.
The two were separated, traded insults and then Childress grabbed Busch in a headlock and struck him again before the incident was broken up.