MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Kyle Busch led a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the front row Friday during qualifying for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500.
Busch put the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota on the pole with an 18.988-second lap at 99.674 mph during the second round of qualifying Friday. Hamlin fell just short of the pole, timing in at 19.022 at 99.548 mph during the final 10-minute qualifying session.
“What do you know, it is Martinsville and we get to start on the pole. That’s pretty cool,” said Busch, who delivered the third-straight Sprint Cup pole for Joe Gibbs Racing. “There is always a first for everything I guess. This is pretty neat. At short tracks our cars have always been great. JGR and TRD engines have always been really good for us here.
“It’s fun to start up front. It makes things a heck of a lot easier, that’s for sure,” Busch said.
Joey Logano qualified third, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer were the rest of the fastest 12 qualifiers.
In the first 30-minute qualifying session Logano established a track record at the .526-mile oval, circling the track in 18.898 seconds at 100.201 mph. He was followed by Hamlin, Busch, McMurray, Kenseth, Gordon, Johnson, Edwards, Biffle, Patrick and Stewart.
Just missing out on advancing to the final round of qualifying were Brian Vickers, Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger. Keselowski will start 14th, ending a run of four-straight front row qualifying efforts by the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
David Reutimann was the only driver who failed to qualify for the 43-car field.