Kurt Busch won pole position for Sunday's Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, coming in with a top speed of 133.591 mph and a best time of 28.511 seconds.
As NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck noted, it's Busch's third pole of the season and the 25th of his career.
"I like the way that we made the right changes through each of the rounds," Kurt Busch said, per NASCAR. "And we stuck to a game plan. That's exactly what you hope to have each time you go through a qualifying, where you don't have to deviate away from the plan you set in place."
Hamlin, who finished fourth in qualifying, is the defending winner at the race. And he's willing to face a fear if it means retaining his title, as he joked after qualifying, per Matt Weaver of Autoweek:
"Yeah, I've never really liked them to begin with," Hamlin said last September, per Reid Spencer of NASCAR.com. "I don't like the taste of them. I don't—I just don't like looking at them. They have pincers, really, so I don't like anything that’s ugly and has pincers."
"I don't know—its just a big scorpion in my mind," he continued. "I try to stay away from them and, yeah, I've had some interesting moments with them for sure that I don't care to recall or bring back up."
Each year, the winner of this race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is gifted a live lobster named Loudon. And drivers react differently to the unique prize.
"Joey Logano had no problem because he's an East Coast guy," Greg Makris, the owner of the Makris Lobster and Steak House restaurant that presents and later cooks the lobster, told Ray Duckler of the Concord Monitor. "Jimmy Johnson was a little intimidated by Loudon, but drivers tell me they like it."
It remains to be seen how Kurt Busch would feel about a live lobster trophy. He'll be gunning to find out Sunday.