Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Kyle Busch Leads Brotherly 1-2 Sweep, Seals Busch Pole Award at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kurt Busch was an elite talent as a young driver, and if anything, brother Kyle Busch was even more precocious.
“He always told everybody, ‘If you think I’m good, wait for my younger brother,’ ” Kyle Busch quipped on Friday after winning the pole for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway — by .002 seconds over his older brother.
“I can’t believe it’s two thousandths,” said Kurt Busch, who ran 128.804 mph to Kyle’s 128.822 mph in the final round of knockout qualifying. “It seemed like an eternity.”
Kurt admitted to being too aggressive in Turn 1 on his money lap.
“I slipped up just a little but in Turn 1, and that was all Kyle needed to get by us,” Kurt said. “I missed it a little bit in Turn 1 — I got greedy.”
Sunday’s race will be the third time the Busch brothers have started on the front row of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, all with Kyle in the pole position. The brothers qualified 1-2 at Las Vegas in 2009 and at Texas in 2013.
The Busch Pole Award was Kyle’s second of the season, his second at Bristol and the 29th of his career.
Brad Keselowski qualified third in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, followed by the Fords of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney.
Kevin Harvick, a three-time winner this year, did not make a qualifying run after wrecking in practice because of a front suspension failure and going to a backup car. By NASCAR rules, he will start from the rear of the field on Sunday.
So will the race’s defending champion, Jimmie Johnson, who qualified 17th but later learned his team had discovered a cut tire on his No. 48 Chevrolet. Because of the necessary tire change, Johnson also will start from the back of the field.
Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, Alex Bowman, Michael McDowell and Joey Logano qualified sixth through 10th, respectively. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron matched his previous best qualifying effort with an 11th-place effort.
Daniel Suarez starts 12th after edging Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones for the last spot in the final round.