NASCAR

NASCAR at Phoenix 2016 Qualifying Results: Race Order, Final Times and Reaction

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 11:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, poses for a photo after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 11, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Daniel KramerFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2016

On Friday, Kyle Busch claimed his first official pole of the season for Sunday’s Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, leading a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep among the top three. 

Teammates Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin qualified second and third, respectively, while Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

Here is a look at the final results and times from Friday’s session:

Good Sam 500—Qualifying Results
FinishDriverFastest Time (Seconds)
1Kyle Busch26.014
2Carl Edwards26.179
3Denny Hamlin26.196
4Kurt Busch26.202
5Jimmie Johnson26.244
6Matt Kenseth26.244
7Kyle Larson26.271
8Martin Truex Jr.26.290
9Joey Logano26.321
10Ricky Stenhouse Jr.26.325
11Jamie McMurray26.363
12Ryan Blaney26.411
13Greg Biffle26.230
14Aric Almirola26.236
15Austin Dillon26.260
16Paul Menard26.272
17Chase Elliott26.283
18Kevin Harvick26.298
19Brad Keselowski26.306
20Ryan Newman26.359
21Trevor Bayne26.373
22AJ Allmendinger26.376
23Matt DiBenedetto26.394
24Kasey Kahne*26.241
25Casey Mears26.561
26Dale Earnhardt Jr.26.563
27Landon Cassill26.589
28Ty Dillon26.594
29David Ragan26.626
30Brian Scott26.683
31Regan Smith26.763
32Chris Buescher26.780
33Michael McDowell26.852
34Cole Whitt26.932
35Clint Bowyer27.053
36Danica Patrick27.089
37Josh Wise27.109
38Michael Annett27.115
39Joey Gase27.161
Source: NASCAR.com

Despite posting the fifth-fastest time, Johnson will start at the rear of the field Sunday after crashing in the third and final round of Friday’s qualifying, forcing him into a backup car.

The No. 48 Chevrolet had a malfunction when entering Turn 1 and viciously barreled into the outside wall, as NASCAR showed:

Johnson wasn’t able to immediately identify what caused the problem after being released from the infield care center, per Fox Sports: NASCAR on Twitter:

Rarely do such violent collisions occur at a track as flat and short as Phoenix, which left the rest of the garage thankful that Johnson was OK, given the nature of the hit.

Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted his well wishes:

Before the wreck, Johnson had the only Hendrick Motorsports car in line for a strong finish Friday. 

Earnhardt qualified 26th, Chase Elliott was 17th and Kasey Kahne was 24th after blowing his engine. 

Nascarcasm offered a quip at Kahne’s expense, comparing the smoke from the engine to the weather in the Phoenix area:

Kahne will join Johnson at the back of the field to start Sunday’s race, marking the first time since June’s race at Dover that Hendrick won't field at least one car in the top 12, according to Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com.

Hamlin’s third-place effort is a strong indicator that he’s in line to bounce back after finishes of 16th and 19th in the two races since his Daytona 500 win.

Seven-time Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick surprisingly didn’t reach the final round Friday, settling for 18th. Harvick had his four-race win streak at Phoenix snapped in November after finishing second. He is a 3-1 favorite to win Sunday, though, per Odds Shark.

Kyle Busch won the pole at Atlanta two weeks ago, but his time was disallowed after he failed his post-qualifying inspection. Last week at Las Vegas, Busch was leading in the final stages before relinquishing the lead with six laps to go because of a right front-tire vibration.

The young Sprint Cup Series season has seen three different winners in as many races thus far, and the younger Busch seems to be knocking on the door to Victory Lane. 

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