Another disappointing day for Kyle Busch at Kansas

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Some tracks fit well for certain drivers. Conversely, some tracks do not fit well. For Kyle Busch, Kansas Speedway is definitely in the latter category.

Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas was a critical one for Busch going in, as he had struggled mightily at the 1.5-mile oval throughout his Sprint Cup career. Unfortunately for him, he encountered calamity once again in the Heartland, crashing out of the race late.

Before Sunday, Busch was in third place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at 12 points behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. But now, as NASCAR heads for home ground next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Rowdy One sits fifth in the standings at 35 points back of Kenseth.

“We’ll just have to work hard,” Busch said about his title hopes from here on in. “We’ll just have to keep doing what we’ve done and getting us to this point all year long and that’s been consistency.

“And every other track except Kansas seems to be able to bode well for us, so we’ll see what happens and if it doesn’t happen — then it doesn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Like Kenseth, Busch struggled mightily with both track conditions and Goodyear’s zone tire on Sunday. Prior to wrecking out, Busch had been involved in two other incidents; he was able to dodge a spinning Danica Patrick on the opening lap and was then spun out himself by Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 186.

He came out of both of those matters unscathed, but on Lap 199, contact with Carl Edwards sent Busch into the Turn 2 wall. Unable to continue, Busch was forced to swallow a 34th-place result.

Now, Busch will likely have to be perfect – forget about being close to it- over the final six Chase races to have a chance at winning the Cup.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480 mph), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.