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Auto notes: Busch wins pole at Martinsville

Kyle Busch became the sixth driver to win a pole in the first six Sprint Cup races this season.

Busch turned a fast lap at 99.674 mph Friday in qualifying at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It’s his 14th career Sprint Cup pole, and first in 19 tries at Martinsville.

In an interesting twist under NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, Busch won the pole while Joey Logano broke the track record. That came at 100.201 mph during the first phase of qualifying. All 44 cars competed in the 30-minute first session, and the top 12 moved into the 10-minute phase two.

Denny Hamlin earned the No. 2 starting spot with a lap at 99.548 mph, and will be followed on the starting grid by Logano and Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

Danica Patrick qualified 10th, her best starting spot in a race not at Daytona.

Mercedes tops F1 practice rounds

The Mercedes team set the fastest times in both practice sessions at the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang, Malaysia, although its rivals are closer than expected.

Nico Rosberg, coming off his win at the season-opening race in Australia, was fastest in the second session and overall with a time of 1 minute, 39.909 seconds around the Sepang International Circuit, bettering Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by just three-hundredths of a second.

Raikkonen was also second fastest in the morning session behind’s Rosberg’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.