Kyle Busch will start from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time in his career Sunday afternoon.
Busch rocketed to the top of the leaderboard late in the final round of qualifying Friday evening with a lap of 184.652mph. It is Busch’s first pole of the season and the 28th of his career. He is a two-time winner at Atlanta.
“We were a little bit too loose trying to make sure we could get the throttle down, and that’s kind of where we made up time there that last round,” Busch said. “All in all, just a great day.
“Proud of the effort. Guys did a great job. Adam [Stevens, crew chief] made some really good calls of being able to adjust on it there for the three rounds of qualifying and being able to start up front. Hopefully, it will bode well for Sunday.”
Ryan Newman will start second. The No.31 Chevrolet posted a fast lap of 184.419mph.
Kevin Harvick (184.376mph), Daniel Suarez (184.211mph) and defending race winner Brad Keselowski (183.850mph) completed the top five.
The rest of the top 10 were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (183.728mph), Kurt Busch (183.479mph), Kyle Larson (183.443mph), Clint Bowyer (182.278mph), and Erik Jones (181.046mph).
Reigning champion Martin Truex Jr. did not attempt a qualifying lap in the first round. The No.78 failed inspection at the optical scanning station (or Hawkeye system) three times and did not get out on track.
As a result, Truex will start last. Because of the new at-track deterrence model, Truex’s car chief Blake Harris was ejected for the rest of the weekend.
Thirty-six cars will start the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the smallest field in the Cup Series since 1996 at Martinsville Speedway.