Kyle Busch wins Cup pole at CMS; brother Kurt hits fastest qualifying speed on 1.5-mile track in NASCAR history

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CONCORD, N.C. – There’s something about winning poles for Kyle Busch.

Busch has won six poles in each of his six Nationwide Series starts this season, as well as in four of his six Truck Series starts.

Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the younger Busch brother went out and earned his third pole of 2014 in the Sprint Cup Series, putting him atop the field to start Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.

Busch earned the point with a run of 197.390 mph, his second NSCS pole at Charlotte this season and 16th overall pole of his career.

“It seemed like the guy that was most consistent was able to win the pole tonight,” Busch told ESPN. “I felt real good about all three of them.

“We’d like to come out of here with a solid weekend and put us in a good spot to continue in this Chase.”

Jeff Gordon will start on the outside pole, covering the 1.5-mile track at a second-best speed of 197.217 mph.

“It’s so fast, so much grip, so much commitment,” Gordon said. “That’s a great effort. Practicing here during the day and qualifying at night is so tough.

“… This is a really, really good position to start Saturday’s race. … Hopefully we can come out of here with a win. That’ll make Talladega a lot easier.”

Denny Hamlin will start third (197.087 mph), followed by Tony Stewart (196.542), Ryan Newman (196.442), Paul Menard (196.100), Kevin Harvick (195.387), Brian Vickers (195.744), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (194.953), Carl Edwards (194.861), Kurt Busch (194.328) and Greg Biffle (191.598).

In the first of the three qualifying rounds, Kasey Kahne went out and set a new track record (197.976 mph), followed by 20 other drivers to exceed that mark.

And then in the second round, Kurt Busch quickly re-set the fresh new record with an outstanding run of 198.771 mph.

Kurt Busch’s mark was the fastest qualifying run on a 1.5-mile track in NASCAR history. It also was the 21st track record that has been broken this season, according to NASCAR statisticians.

Ironically, after Kahne set the track record in the first round of qualifying, he failed to advance in the second round as Kurt Busch moved on to the final field of 12 qualifiers – but could not better his own new track record.

Jimmie Johnson, who is ranked an unprecedented last in the 12-driver Chase field, failed to get out of the second round of qualifying.

Even though Johnson is a seven-time winner at CMS, his qualifying effort certainly doesn’t bode well for him to try and dig himself out of the hole he finds himself in the standings.

“We just didn’t have the speed on that final run,” Johnson said. “We just didn’t have any more on that lap. It’s disappointing, no way around it.

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Chip Ganassi to be honored in Petersen Museum exhibit

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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This Saturday, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the most successful teams in American motorsports.

Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the exhibit will display several significant cars, trophies, and other artifacts from CGR’s storied racing history. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Dallara IR-05. Photo Kahn Media

Vehicles displayed in the exhibit will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500, the Lexus-powered Riley MK X1 raced by Scott Dixon in the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, the Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the Ford GT that finished first in the LM GTE category at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.” 

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed opening reception on December 13. More information on the Petersen Museum can be found at www.petersen.org.

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