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Ky. Busch grabs Bristol pole with new track qualifying record

4:43 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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Bristol, TN (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch claimed the pole for the Food City 500 after breaking a decade-old track qualifying record at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday.

With NASCAR's new Sprint Cup Series race car, the Gen-6, making its short- track debut at Bristol, Busch ran a lap at 129.535 mph around this 0.533-mile, high-banked oval. His lap surpassed the old record of 128.709 mph, set by Ryan Newman in March 2003. Busch has won five Sprint Cup Series races at this track, but it was his first pole here in 17 starts.

Kasey Kahne earned the outside pole with a lap at 128.995 mph, while Denny Hamlin, who is Busch's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, grabbed the third spot after posting a lap at 128.960 mph. Kahne and Hamlin topped Newman's record as well.

Brian Vickers, who is driving the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing this weekend, qualified fourth. Mark Martin was behind the wheel of the No. 55 car at Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas, but Martin is taking his first week off during his partial schedule this season.

Jamie McMurray was sixth, followed by Brad Keselowski, who is the defending series champion and winner of last year's spring race at Bristol. Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano completed the top-10.

Jimmie Johnson, the current points leader, qualified 13th. Johnson holds a five-point advantage over Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is 10 points out of the lead, will start 32nd.

Danica Patrick will start 41st after her lap at 124.638 mph. Since winning the pole for last month's season-opening Daytona 500, Patrick has struggled in qualifying. Patrick qualified 40th at Phoenix two weeks ago. She crashed late in that race and ended up finishing 39th. Last week's qualifying at Las Vegas was rained out. Patrick started 37th and finished six laps behind in 33rd there.

This will be the second time Patrick competes in a Sprint Cup race at Bristol. She started 43rd and finished 29th in the night race here last August.

Scott Riggs was the only driver who failed to qualify for Sunday's 500-lap race at Bristol, which is scheduled to start just after 1 p.m. ET.

The Sports Network

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