In one of the quickest qualifying sessions in recent memory, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge not only took the pole at his hometown track but broke the record, previously held by his brother Kyle set in 2009 while qualifying for Sunday's Shelby American GT 350.
This is Busch's first pole in 10 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the first of 2010.
Busch wasn't the only one to break the track record. The younger Busch's original record was broken by 17 people before his brother captured the pole.
When asked what he thought was contributing to the quick qualifying times, Jeff Gordon, who is starting next to Busch, said Goodyear had given them a new tire. Mix that with the rapidly-changing weather and you've got super fast times.
Busch ran his lap in 28.614 seconds at a speed of 188.725 mph.
At his post-qualifying interview, Busch said he is following the direction of new crew chief Steve Addington, who was previously the crew chief for his brother, and the knowledge he has of the COT.
The hope is that the car stays strong tomorrow during practice and during the race on Sunday, as long as the weather holds up.
Busch got emotional when asked the “what if you win” question, especially since his mother can't be at the track this year while recovering from surgery and defending his brother's win.
He also said the track is special because of the people that are here—family and friends—and the history that surrounds it.
“You always remember the people that helped you get to where I've got in racing, like I have,” he said of the people who have stayed by him as he grew through the local ranks and into the NASCAR series.
His chassis on this car is “702,” the area code for Las Vegas. The team originally wanted to take it to California but he wanted to wait.
Addington said of the car, "We're coming in [here] with one of our best Miller Lite Dodge Chargers—our (PRS-) 702 car—and Kurt was all over that when we decided to run this car [here]. The first thing out of his mouth was that the area code in Vegas is 702 and that hopefully it's an omen of good things to come for our team [here] this weekend."
It obviously worked out.
Filling out the remainder of the top 10 are: Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, and Juan Pablo Montoya.
The Shelby American GT 350 will be on Sunday, Feb. 28 on FOX at 11 AM PT.
Photo Courtesy: Farrah Kaye