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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)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with his wife DeLana, son Keelan, and the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, and the rest of the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Justin Allgaier, driver of the #51 Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Allstate Peterbilt/Pilot Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS, qualified seventh Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Menard is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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