KYLE BUSCH LEADS GATORADE POLE DAY JGR SWEEP IN QUALIFYING FOR GOOD SAM 500
Joe Gibbs Racing had a Gatorade Pole Day to remember as they captured the top three starting spots for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota, won the pole with a lap of 138.387 mph, followed by Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, and Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 19 Stanley Toyota.
"I told Adam (Stevens) and the crew to make sure to give it everything we got," Busch said. "The break was there, with Jimmie (Johnson) hitting the wall obviously. I saw that he was alright but we knew we had another chance to go so we might as well cool everything down and give it another whirl. We did and we just made a couple of fine tuning adjustments from what I just ran the run before and it was just a titch faster. Not much, but just a titch."
This is Busch's third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole at PIR, tying him for second-most Sprint Cup poles in the Valley of the Sun with Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Rusty Wallace and Jimmie Johnson. Ryan Newman holds the record with four career poles.
Joe Gibbs Racing was also fastest in two of the three NASCAR XFINITY Series practice sessions with Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Reser's Fine Foods Toyota, clocking the top average speed of the day at 134.128. Ty Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet topped the charts in the final practice with a speed of 133.087 mph.
Qualifying was not kind to Hendrick Motorsports, as Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet, had an engine failure in the first round, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet, experienced a mechanical failure and hit the wall in the final round. Both are likely to start at the back of the field in the Good Sam 500.
Saturday's action features NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying at 9:45 a.m. and the AXALTA Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at 12:45 p.m.