Kurt Busch, driving the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet, claimed the Coors Light Pole Award at his hometown track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during qualifying for the Kobalt 400. During the opening qualifying round Busch broke the qualifying record set by Jeff Gordon with a speed of 194.679 mph last spring with at speed of 196.378 mph at the 1.5 mile track.
Busch has 21 pole awards in 543 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and this being his second pole for the 2016 season. Busch has two pole awards at LVMS in 15 races at the track.
“Man, I wasn’t going to lift for anything,” Busch said. “I was giving it all I had. I’m really proud of the team to help me get to that third round. I was overdriving the car and I needed to settle in and Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a great adjustment in the last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole, but now we’ve got to go to work tomorrow. I hope we can get the car dialed in for long run speed for Sunday.”
Several on-track incidents occurred during qualifying, the opening 20 minute Round 1 qualifying session, Jamie McMurray in the #1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet tag the outside wall at the exit of Turn 4. Brad Keselowski driving the #2 Team Penske Ford found a lone shard of metal causing a flat. The Penske crew was forced to change a tire without penalty.
Round 2 of qualifying during the warm-up lap for the #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Carl Edwards experienced trouble when a tire going down caused him to hit the wall knocking in the right rear corner. The session was stopped when the red flag was displayed, which caused the lap time of Brian Vickers to be disallowed, as he was in the middle of his qualifying lap.
Team owner Tony Stewart protested NASCAR’s decision to disallow Vickers time in the #14 Chevrolet to no avail. Vickers will start 19th in Stewart’s #14 Chevrolet; Stewart continues to recover from a broken vertebra. For his part Edwards had to go to a back-up car for Sunday’s race, officially he will start 24th, but will be forced to start at the rear of the 39 car field.
“It hit hard, bounced up the race track and man, that was it,” Edwards said after exiting his car unhurt.
Joey Logano will start second, with Matt Kenseth in third; Keselowski will start fourth with Austin Dillon completing the top five. Sixth through twelfth are as follows Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and A.J. Allmendinger.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will present the Kobalt 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway with coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Fox.