Kyle Busch will start his drive for his fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup victory from a familiar spot, out front and in first.
Busch turned a lap of 178.416 mph Friday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, to win the pole for the first time during his sensational streak.
He also made it three straight Cup poles for Joe Gibbs Racing after Carl Edwards won the previous two.
Busch missed the first 11 races of the season with a broken right leg and left foot. He returned in late May and has won three consecutive Sprint Cup Series races and four of the last five.
“Hopefully, it’s got 16 weeks left in it,” he said. “It’s just amazing what we’re on.”
He’s trying to become the first Cup driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to win four straight races. Busch won on the road course at Sonoma, finished 17th at Daytona, then took the last three races at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.
Kevin Harvick was second in qualifying, followed by Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Tony Stewart.
Logano, who wasn’t won since the Daytona 500, refused to say Busch is the driver to beat down the stretch.
“It doesn’t get in our head. He is just fast right now,” Logano said. “We are not slow by any means. We are close. I think we know some areas we can improve on and like any good competitor you study what others are doing to beat you. You have to look at that. That is the only way you become better.”
Busch is 23 points away from cracking the top 30 in the standings. NASCAR granted him a waiver that will make him eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship should he be ranked inside the top 30 in points. He’s shaved 150 points off the deficit over the last five races, with the 17th-place finish at Daytona the only time he failed to win.
With another strong run in Sunday’s race, Busch could hit the top 30. He has never won at Pocono and has eight top-10 finishes in 21 starts on the tri-oval track.
Wallace preps for final NASCAR race
Kenny Wallace, who has made more starts in NASCAR’s second-tier circuit than anyone, is set for one last weekend in the spotlight before retiring as a driver.
Wallace will make his 547th and final NASCAR Xfinity start tonight at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
“I’m looking around and there isn’t anybody in the sport from my days. I mean, Jeff Gordon. There’s nobody else. They’re all gone. Mark Martin is gone. Jeff Burton is gone. All these guys are quitting in their 40s now,” Wallace, 51, said. “Hell, I’m just done. You know what I mean? I’m just done.”
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