Friday October 9th, 2015 8:22AM

Kyle Busch wins Sprint Cup pole at Martinsville Speedway

By Hank Kurz, Jr., AP Sports Writer
Related Articles
MARTINSVILLE, VA - Kyle Busch has seen it time and again at Martinsville Speedway.

Driving down pit road, heading back onto the track and in contention for the lead, Busch is used to seeing the pole-sitter gun the engine just off the jack and reassume the race lead.

Busch hopes to finally get to experience that for himself at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday after earning the pole on NASCAR's smallest, tightest track for the first time in 19 career starts.

"I think that's a great thing for us," Busch said after winning the pole with a lap at 99.674 mph. "We get to pit there and of course drop the jack and just lunge across the line and be good.

"You need to still run up front all day. I think that it's a great opportunity for us to pick up some spots say if we're second, third, fourth, whatever, but you definitely always want to stay as close to the front as you can and try not to use that box as much as some guys have in the past."

The pole is the 14th of Busch's career.

In an interesting twist under NASCAR's new knockout qualifying system, Busch won it while Joey Logano set a track record. That came at 100.201 mph during the first phase of two-session qualifying. All 44 cars competed in the 30-minute first session, and the top 12 moved into the 10-minute phase two.

Denny Hamlin earned the No. 2 starting spot with a lap at 99.548 mph, and will be followed on the starting grid by Logano and Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. That puts Busch in some pretty accomplished company because Hamlin (4), Johnson and Gordon (8 each) have won a lot.

Busch, though, is coming off a victory last week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, and while he said it wasn't dominating, it gave him hope that the Joe Gibbs Racing teams are coming together.

"It just seems to be working well right now, whatever is working," he said.

Hamlin, who promised earlier in the day that he would win on Sunday, wasn't in love with the outside starting spot because it can be tricky to get down to the bottom on restarts from the outside, said nothing that happened in practice or qualifying made his change his view of how it can all unfold.

"I knew, even going into this weekend, I knew we were going to be really good contenders and be in the mix anyway," he said. "I feel like after running a couple laps of practice I felt like this was a car that was capable of winning. I think with tire management being more of a factor than it's ever been, it kind of lends itself to my driving style even more. For that reason I think we'll be tough on Sunday."

Logano has two top-10 finishes on the 0.526-mile oval, but none since 2010.

"So we've got a track record, but we don't have a pole. How does that work?" he asked.

A solid pit position, he said, could help turns things around on Sunday.

"Obviously, the pit stall is very important, especially here. It's a dangerous pit road, so you want to get a nice spot you can get in and out of, but obviously here it's a slow pit road and you can make up a lot with timing lines on pit road," he said. "For that reason alone it's big, and that's worth multiple spots throughout the race when you're thinking about making a lot of pit stops."

Danica Patrick qualified 10th, her best starting spot in a race not held at Daytona. Her previous best starting position was 21st, accomplished twice last season.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of the STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA on Sunday beginning at noon on 102.9 FM and at 1 PM on 550 AM.

NASCAR-Sprint Cup Series
Martinsville Speedway - Martinsville, VA
STP 500 Qualifying - March 28, 2014

(Car number in parentheses)

1. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 99.674 mph.
2. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 99.548.
3. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 99.428.
4. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 99.178.
5. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 99.048.
6. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 99.048.
7. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 98.883.
8. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 98.846.
9. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 98.625.
10. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 98.165.
11. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 97.764.
12. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 97.382.
13. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 98.965.
14. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 98.929.
15. (47) A J Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 98.888.
16. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 98.877.
17. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 98.712.
18. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 98.707.
19. (23) Alex Bowman, Toyota, 98.661.
20. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 98.625.
21. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 98.61.
22. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 98.61.
23. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 98.599.
24. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 98.599.
25. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 98.43.
26. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 98.379.
27. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 98.359.
28. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 98.333.
29. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 98.246.
30. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 98.206.
31. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 98.2.
32. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 98.002.
33. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 97.957.
34. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 97.886.
35. (26) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 97.82.
36. (40) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 97.759.
37. (33) David Stremme, Chevrolet, owner points.
38. (83) Ryan Truex, Toyota, owner points.
39. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, owner points.
40. (7) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, owner points.
41. (30) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, owner points.
42. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, owner points.
43. (66) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, owner points.

Failed to Qualify
44. (35) David Reutimann, Ford, 97.759.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 9 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 9 months ago )
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 9 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 9 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 9 months ago )
Professional Sports
Garbo, Jr. to compete in NASCAR K&N East with Whelen sponsorship
CHARLOTTE, NC--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- When Marsh Racing and longtime team sponsor Whelen Engineering Company, Inc. got the opportunity to put together a race team for 2015, they looked closely at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
12:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Former NASCAR racer pleads guilty in high-speed chase
12:51PM ( 9 months ago )
Chili Bowl entry list again nearing record 300 mark
TULSA, OK - For the past couple years, the entry list for the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals has flirted with the 300 mark. Once again, the number of teams registering for the indoor Midget event is nearing the three century mark with 285 entries received for the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
11:59AM ( 9 months ago )
Kurt Buschs ex seeks no-contact order at hearing
12:27PM ( 9 months ago )
Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after 2016 season
2:54PM ( 9 months ago )
Sprint Unlimited field features Chase drivers for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced Monday all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
12:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Sprint Cup
(VIDEO) Game of the Week: GHS-Lanier to slug it out for 8-AAAAA supremacy
Both Gainesville and Lanier football hope to answer big questions on Friday night...
8:58PM ( 12 hours from now )
(VIDEO) Week 7: Area teams facing playoff-like scenarios as region races heat up
The official start of the high school football playoffs isn't for another month. However, some area teams, it amy actually begin this Friday.
8:25PM ( 12 hours from now )
Falcons' Roddy White upbeat after meeting with Quinn
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White returned to the team Thursday and said he was encouraged about his role following a meeting with coach Dan Quinn.
10:32AM ( 2 hours from now )
NASCAR Notebook: Harvick set for next leg of Chase
Kevin Harvick claims he feels pressure. But it doesn’t seem like it. In a must-win situation on Sunday at Dover, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion led 355-of-400 laps on his way to victory lane.
By NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Volleyball: Lady Vikings claim second straight 7-AAA crown
The East Hall volleyball team savored a second straight Area 7-AAA championship on Thursday after sweeping past Lumpkin County and West Hall in Rabbittown.
By AccessWDUN Staff
1:34AM ( 6 hours ago )