Saturday, September 18, 2021

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NSCS: Kyle Busch sets new track record in Back of America 500 qualifying

Continuing to improve with each passing week, Kyle Busch would set a top notch lap during Back of America 500 qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway, scoring the pole award. The lap of 27.357 seconds with an average speed of 197.390 mph would give Busch his 16th career pole and his third pole of the season. Busch comes into this weekend sitting second in points after a solid fifth place finish last weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Jeff Gordon would post his 21st top 10 start of the year, qualifying second, three hundreths off of Busch’s quick time. Following a poor showing at Kansas, Gordon sits eighth in points, which will be the last position to move on to round three of the Chase for the Sprint Cup following next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Denny Hamlin will start third for his ninth top 10 start of the year, ahead of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. It marks Stewart’s best start since returning back behind the wheel after the incident with Kevin Ward Jr. in August. For Hamlin, he also is looking to propel himself into the third round of the Chase as he currently sits fifth in points.

Paul Menard will start sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards. Harvick, Earnhardt and Edwards are all Chase for the Championship contenders right now. Edwards and Harvick sit third and sixth, respectively, currently in qualifying positions. Meanwhile, Earnhardt Jr. sits 11th following last week’s flat tire at Kansas Speedway. If Earnhardt is to move on to the next round of the Chase, he will need to make up the 25 points or score the victory either this weekend or next.

Kurt Busch will start 11th after setting the track record during the second round of the qualifying. Busch had qualified for the Chase, though was eliminated following Dover due to being outside of the top 12.

As for the rest of the Chase contenders, Joey Logano will start 13th after locking himself into round three with the victory last week, while his Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start 17th. Keselowski hopes to have a good run this weekend as he is one of the drivers that currently sits on the outside of the top eight. Kasey Kahne will start 19th, with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson sitting 21st. Roush Fenway Racing’s Matt Kenseth will start 22nd.

Trevor Bayne would be the only driver to fail to make the field, not posting a quick enough time during the first round to qualify his way in.

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