Race Weekend Central

Kyle Busch Earns Chicagoland Pole For NASCAR MENCS Playoff Opener

Kyle Busch is starting in a familiar place to open the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs: first place.

Busch turned a fast lap of 187.963 mph (28.729 seconds) at Chicagoland Speedway in his No. 18 Skittles Sweet Heat Toyota Camry. That was enough to earn his series-leading seventh pole of 2017 and 26th of his Cup Series career.

“It’s because I’m in a Toyota, right?” Busch sarcastically told NBCSN following his pole run. The comments came shortly after a Twitter feud that occurred between Busch and Brad Keselowski on Friday afternoon.

The pole award is also Busch’s third in the last four years at the 1.5-mile tri-oval.

Regardless of who you supported in the Keselowski-Busch dustup, qualifying showed the Camrys edging out their Ford and Chevy counterparts. Busch’s Toyota teammates of Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin capped off a sweep of the top three positions. The Fords of Kevin Harvick and Keselowski rounded out the top-five qualifiers for Sunday’s Tale of The Turtles 400.

Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, and Matt Kenseth completed the top 10 qualifiers. Clint Bowyer and Ryan Blaney were 11th and 12th, respectively as playoff drivers took 10 of the top 12 spots. Blaney’s No. 21 did not attempt a lap in the final round due to running out of fuel.

Jimmie Johnson (14th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (15th), Ryan Newman (16th), Kurt Busch (17th) and Jamie McMurray (19th) were among the playoff participants that didn’t advance to the final round. Kasey Kahne will start 25th, the worst of all championship-eligible drivers.

There was only one incident during the three-round session. It occurred in round two when Erik Jones lost control of his No. 77 off Turn 4, bringing out a quick stoppage.

Jones’ team will have to change tires on their No. 77 car, meaning they will start at the rear of the field. The incident came just a day after owner Barney Visser revealed the team will shut down effective the end of the season.

The green flag for Sunday’s Tale of The Turtles 400 is scheduled to fly at approximately 3:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Truex is the defending winner of the event.

Click here for full qualifying results from Chicagoland Speedway

About the author

Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.

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The last nine caras are:

32, 23, 15, 72, 55, 33, 66, 51, and 83

In how many races have they been the last qualifiers?

How many fewer cautions would there be if they weren’t in the events?

How many will they cause in the next 10 events?

Who will bring out the last caution at Homestead?



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