Saturday, April 7, 2018

Kurt Busch leads Stewart Haas 1-2-3 start at Texas

credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Kurt Busch scored the Busch Pole Award and accompanying Henry Repeating Arms Big Boy lever-action rifle Friday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. Qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 halted after the first round because of lightning in the area, and Busch was the beneficiary with a lap of 27.360 seconds at 197.368 mph in the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford.

“It was a unique situation with just having the one round,” Busch said of the qualifying effort. “The thought that weather was in the area hadn’t crossed our minds but yet you have to play all three rounds as smart as you can. We went a little bit aggressive on that first round and it paid off.”

Stewart Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick put the No. 4 Busch Light Ford on the outside pole with his (27.395 seconds, 197.116 mph).

“It was good. We had a good lap and just got beat by a little bit. I think we didn’t really realize that was going to be the last one but we thought maybe there was a chance.” Harvick explained. “We kept it in the family and that is a good thing for Stewart-Haas Racing and hopefully we can continue the trend of running well for the rest of the weekend.”

The most recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner, Clint Bowyer, rolls off third giving Stewart-Haas Racing the organization’s first 1-2-3 start.

Penske’s Ryan Blaney starts fourth in the No. 12 Menard’s Ford, fastest of the “New Kids on the Track.” The Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. roll off side-by-side on the third row, breaking up the blue oval party, though Joey Logano slipped in at seventh, followed closely by Kyle Busch in the eighth position. The Chevys of Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson round out the top 10.

Track conditions on Sunday will be radically different than for qualifying and for practice Saturday, so teams may not have gained much, if any, information that will help them on race day. 

Starting lineup:


Rank
Driver
Car number
Manufacturer
1
Kurt Busch
41
Ford
2
Kevin Harvick
4
Ford
3
Clint Bowyer
14
Ford
4
Ryan Blaney
12
Ford
5
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota
6
Martin Truex, Jr.
78
Toyota
7
Joey Logano
22
Ford
8
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota
9
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet
10
Kyle Larson
42
Chevrolet
11
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford
12
Aric Almirola
10
Ford
13
Trevor Bayne
6
Ford
14
Daniel Suarez
19
Toyota
15
Darrell Wallace, Jr.
43
Chevrolet
16
Alex Bowman
88
Chevrolet
17
Austin Dillon
3
Chevrolet
18
Chris Buescher
37
Chevrolet
19
Paul Menard
21
Ford
20
Chase Elliott
9
Chevrolet
21
Erik Jones
20
Toyota
22
A.J. Allmendinger
47
Chevrolet
23
Ty Dillon
13
Chevrolet
24
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet
25
Ryan Newman
31
Chevrolet
26
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
17
Ford
27
Michael McDowell
34
Ford
28
Kasey Kahne
95
Chevrolet
29
David Ragan
38
Ford
30
Matt DiBenedetto
32
Ford
31
Ross Chastain
15
Chevrolet
32
Gray Gaulding
23
Toyota
33
William Byron
24
Chevrolet
34
Cole Whitt
72
Chevrolet
35
Landon Cassill
0
Chevrolet
36
Harrison Rhodes
51
Chevrolet
37
Reed Sorenson
55
Chevrolet

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