Kurt Busch led a Chevrolet surge in Coca-Cola 600 qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will start from the pole in Sunday night’s race.
Busch’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was fastest at 181.269 mph (29.790 seconds). It is the first pole for Busch with CGR and the 28th of his NASCAR Cup Series career. He is the 2010 winner of the Coca-Cola 600.
“I’m just so proud of (crew chief) Matt McCall, all of our guys and the way we have to communicate right now and get through everything as far as those last-minute details and those fine adjustments,” said Busch. “But wow, what a Chevrolet brigade upfront, this is pretty sweet. Gear Wrench is on our car only a few times a year, and I want to push them up front, so this is an awesome pole.
“I was more geared up in my mind toward downforce and being ready for 600 miles, so this means Matt McCall has something up his sleeve, and we should be good tonight. So, this is a great run, and happy birthday, Chip Ganassi.”
Joining Busch on the front row is Jimmie Johnson, who ran 181.214 mph. Johnson put down the quickest time as the 19th driver on track before Busch came along as the 37th driver to take a time. Johnson is a four-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600.
The four other fastest Chevrolet drivers in qualifying were Chase Elliott, third fastest at 181.002 mph, Matt Kenseth in fourth at 180.923 mph, Tyler Reddick, fifth fastest at 180.905 mph, and Austin Dillon in sixth at 180.741 mph.
The rest of the top 10 starters are Joey Logano, seventh at 180.451 mph, Martin Truex Jr., eighth at 180.325 mph, Brad Keselowski, ninth at 180.282 mph, and William Byron, 10th at 180.264 mph. Truex is the defending race winner.
Starting 11th will be Kyle Busch with Alex Bowman in 12th. The most recent winner in the series, Denny Hamlin, will line up 13th.
Points leader Kevin Harvick qualified 22nd. Ryan Blaney was 26th fastest.
Matt DiBenedetto will have to drop to the rear of the field for the start of the Coca-Cola 600. On his second lap in qualifying, DiBenedetto smacked the wall off Turn 4 when the No. 21 Ford got loose, and he chased the car up the track. Wood Brothers Racing was forced to pull the backup car out for DiBenedetto.
Aric Almirola will also come from the rear. The No. 10 Ford snapped around on Almirola off Turn 4 on his way to the green flag, and he spun down the frontstretch. Fortunately, Almirola may have only brushed the wall if he did make slight contact with the left rear, and he did not run a qualifying lap at speed.
UP NEXT: The Coca-Cola 600 at 6 p.m. ET on FOX.