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Kyle Busch on pole at New Hampshire

Kyle Busch was the fastest man on track at the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday, topping both the practice and qualifying sessions for this weekend's Cup race.
Kyle Busch will start Sunday afternoon's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup race from pole position after setting an unbeatable time of 28.548s (133.417mph) on the final run of qualifying on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway one-mile oval on Friday afternoon.

Busch revealed afterwards that this first pole position of 2012 had been a narrow margin between qualifying glory and disaster near the end.

"One and two, I felt like I just didn't finish the throttle as well as I needed it to," he said. "Down in three and four, I got back to the gas early, but then tried to put it down sooner and that's what drove me out to the wall

"I don't think we touched; I didn't feel it, so if anything it was really, really close," he said of his near-miss at the end. "I just knew that I got in the throttle really early in three and four trying to make speed and was able to finish it, but the car slipped right at the last second. When you get to that older asphalt, it seems like this tyre is different than the older tyre where you lose just a touch of grip. Slid out right to the cushion part you would say. There's no mark on the car so all is good there."

An incredibly tight session saw Busch set a time only 0.003s faster than Hendrick Motorsport's Kasey Kahne, with Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Denny Hamlin beaten back into third by just one thousands of a second.

"I was right on the edge the whole lap of being just a little too free," said Kahne of his run. "But I was able to make it work. In the final corner I tried getting one more lap, which it didn't seem like anybody was going faster the second lap, but I still tried and got too loose there and just pulled it in. It was still a solid lap. It was really close. As far as the times, everybody is really close, but I'm glad my car feels great."

Asked if he'd had anything left to challenge Busch and Kahne for the front row, Hamlin indicated where he could have made up time: "Maybe I could have squeezed four-thousandths out of it somehow. It's awful tight up front there," he pointed out. "You're just really on the edge all the time and I said after I got out of the car that was pretty much all it had speed-wise — you would have to be tighter to be faster."

Hamlin sat out last week's Nationwide Series race at Daytona and also skipped some of the Cup practice sessions because of back spasms after the previous race at Kentucky Speedway, but he said that he was now over that problem.

"My back is pretty good. It feels today as if it would any day," he said. "When I had those back spasms in the past, it was about a week worth of pain that I had to deal with, but really just have to focus on my exercises just to do the things to prevent it. Back spasms come and go — obviously, last week was a bad week for it. Other than that, everything is good."




Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rodgers celebrate winning the Coors Light Pole Award at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch is all smiles after winning the Coors Light Pole for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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