Kyle Busch takes pole for Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

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Tomorrow night, Kyle Busch will seek to win his second Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway from the pole after posting a lap at 193.723 miles per hour during today’s qualifying sessions. For “Rowdy,” the occasion was a bit of history for him, as it was the first time he’d ever taken pole position on a restrictor-plate track.

“I never thought I’d ever get one,” Busch admitted to NASCAR.com. “But I guess never says never. It’s pretty cool, because it has absolutely nothing to do with the driver, but it has everything to do with the car and equipment you’re driving.”

Busch led a Toyota sweep of the top three positions on the grid in qualifying. He’ll be joined on the front row tomorrow night by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and Kentucky winner Matt Kenseth, whose lap at 193.299 miles per hour wasn’t quite enough to nab P1. Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer (193.158 mph) will start from the inside of Row 2 alongside Kasey Kahne, who led the Chevrolet camp this afternoon with a 193.154 mph lap.

Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard will go off from Row 3, followed by Michael Waltrip and championship leader Jimmie Johnson in Row 4, and Roush Fenway teammates Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg Biffle in Row 5.

Danica Patrick, who was a last-lap contender for victory at the season-opening Daytona 500, will start 11th – two spots of her boss and defending Coke Zero 400 champ Tony Stewart in 13th. Defending Cup champ Brad Keselowski and longtime Daytona threat Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 15th and 16th, respectively.

COKE ZERO 400 – STARTING GRID
1. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 193.723 mph.
2. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 193.299.
3. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 193.158.
4. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 193.154.
5. (56) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 193.129.
6. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 193.075.
7. (55) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 193.058.
8. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 193.009.
9. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 192.984.
10. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 192.947.
11. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 192.93.
12. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 192.901.
13. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 192.876.
14. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 192.864.
15. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.802.
16. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 192.798.
17. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 192.724.
18. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 192.715.
19. (13) Casey Mears, Ford, 192.715.
20. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 192.583.
21. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 192.522.
22. (78) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 192.489.
23. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 192.448.
24. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 192.439.
25. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 192.197.
26. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 192.152.
27. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 191.877.
28. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 191.755.
29. (7) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 191.546.
30. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 191.306.
31. (98) Michael McDowell, Ford, 190.795.
32. (36) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 190.735.
33. (51) A J Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 190.726.
34. (47) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 190.375.
35. (30) David Stremme, Toyota, 190.202.
36. (95) Scott Speed, Ford, 189.853.
37. (35) Josh Wise, Ford, Owner Points.
38. (34) David Ragan, Ford, Owner Points.
39. (32) Terry Labonte, Ford, Owner Points.
40. (93) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, Owner Points.
41. (83) David Reutimann, Toyota, Owner Points.
42. (87) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, Owner Points.
43. (33) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Owner Points.

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.