The sun set, the temperatures went down and the speeds went up.
In the first of three qualifying rounds, 21 drivers eclipsed the old track qualifying record. In the end, Kyle Busch posted the fastest time in the third and final qualifying round to claim the pole for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500, the only night race in the Chase.
Busch kept adjusting his car throughout the three sessions and was fastest when it counted grabbing the pole with a speed of 197.390 mph. This is Busch’s 16th overall pole and second at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kasey Kahne, one of the four drivers currently outside the top 8 in points, set the pace in the first round with a lap of 197.976 mph. All 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top 24 and advanced to the second round.
Kurt Busch claimed the top spot of the second round in his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. His lap speed of 198.771 mph is the fastest qualifying lap at a 1.5-mile track in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. Track qualifying records have been broken 21 times this season.
For only the second time all season, both Penske drivers (Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski) did not advance to the final round of qualifying.
Other Chase drivers that did not advance to the final round of qualifying include Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth.
Top 10 Starters:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Tony Stewart
5. Ryan Newman
6. Paul Menard
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Brian Vickers
9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10. Carl Edwards
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