The ISM Raceway hot streak that Kyle Busch is on continued Saturday afternoon in qualifying.
Busch (P) scored the pole for the Bluegreen Vacations 500 with a lap of 140.116 mph (25.693 seconds). It is his first pole of the season and fourth at ISM. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver now has 32 poles in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
“They’re all important,” said Busch of the pole win. “Just having a good pace, and I think this is actually the first race of the year we made a mock (qualifying) run in practice, so maybe there’s something to that. The guys did a great job. Can’t thank Adam Stevens (crew chief) enough. We fight hard each and every week to figure out what we need to do to continue to improve, and a lot of other guys have certainly done that over the year. Hopefully, today bodes well for tomorrow. I really don’t know: The schedule is all different, with all practice on one day and then just qualifying today.
“But overall, proud to start up front,” Busch added. “This is a very important race and very important with track position and such, so hopefully it’s good for tomorrow.”
Starting alongside Busch will be the driver who is two points behind him on the playoff grid, Joey Logano (P), who qualified second at 139.752 mph. Busch is third on the playoff grid with 22 points on the cutline while Logano is fourth, 20 points above the first driver sitting on the outside.
Denny Hamlin (P) is the driver behind Logano and he qualified third. Hamlin clocked in at 139.394 mph.
The top seven drivers all are in the playoffs.
Martin Truex Jr. (P) was fourth fastest at 139.324 mph with Kyle Larson (P) completing the top five at 139.238 mph. Chase Elliott (P) was sixth quickest at 139.179 mph. Both Larson and Elliott are below the cutline going into Sunday’s race with Elliott facing a must-win to advance scenario.
Kevin Harvick (P) will start seventh after a lap of 138.921 mph. Kurt Busch was eighth at 138.910 mph, and Erik Jones was ninth at 138.862 mph. Ryan Blaney (P) was the lowest qualifying playoff driver in 10th at 138.755 mph.
John Hunter Nemechek qualified 26th in his second race for Front Row Motorsports.
Four cars failed pre-qualifying inspection twice: William Byron, Elliott, Matt DiBenedetto, and Ross Chastain will start where they qualified; however, they each had a crew member ejected for the remainder of the weekend. Each team will also lose 15 minutes of practice next weekend in Miami.
UP NEXT: Bluegreen Vacations 500 at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday.