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Kyle Busch on pole at New Hampshire

Hamlin was without his crew chief Darian Grubb on Friday, who is still back at home celebrating the arrival of his second child earlier in the week. However, Grubb will be back at the race track in time for Sunday's event.

Hamlin will start alongside another Toyota-powered car on the second row of the grid, the Michael Waltrip Racing #56 entry driven by Martin Truex Jr.: "It wasn't a perfect lap," he shrugged. "We missed it just a little bit. I messed up a little and we made some changes to the car and messed it up some more. There was definitely more out there and I could have done a little bit better job."

His MWR team mate Clint Bowyer will start from fifth, making it four Toyotas in the top five positions at Loudon for tomorrow's race: "I just got in way too hard in one and got loose," said Bowyer afterwards. I had to wait on the throttle forever. I can't believe we ran that good. I felt like I blew it pretty bad."

Earlier in the single Friday practice session for the Cup drivers, Kyle Busch has set the fastest time ahead of Greg Biffle, but Biffle was unable to repeat that performance in the qualifying session and will start from 11th place instead.

"We had a really good car, but just ended up a little tight right there," he said, not sounding too dispirited. "My second lap was really good. I just got tight off of four and I didn't want to lift because I knew it would be the top of the board most likely, and I just ran out of real estate. I had to go for it because I knew a .66 wasn't good enough, so I just murdered one and two on the second lap and got into three and four good, it just got tight on exit. I thought I was gonna make it. It was close.”

Most of the remaining top ten places on the grid went to the leading Chase contenders, with Jimmie Johnson in seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in ninth and Tony Stewart in tenth. New father Kevin Harvick qualified in 12th place and will start alongside Biffle on the grid.

But current Cup championship points leader Matt Kenseth was only able to qualify in 27th place, and he wasn't happy.

“That was probably our worst lap of the day, but it hasn't been going very well," he admitted later. "This place has always been a struggle for us, especially in qualifying, so we'll just get through today and start working on it tomorrow."

Mike Bliss was the one car not to qualify on speed for the 43-car grid at Loudon, after he brushed the wall on his qualifying lap.

The Cup drivers get two more practice sessions on Saturday, with the race itself starting an noon local time on Sunday. The Nationwide Series is also racing at New Hampshire, with qualifying on Saturday morning and the FW Webb 200 race itself taking place in the afternoon.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is meanwhile competing at Iowa Speedway this weekend, with all practice and qualifying sessions taking place on Saturday afternoon and the American Ethanol 200 race itself being held under the floodlights in the evening.




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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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)

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