NASCAR at Charlotte 2018 Qualifying Results: Kurt Busch Takes Pole

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 28:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, drives  during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 28, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kurt Busch made history by securing the pole Friday for the inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway oval was converted into a road course for Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, marking the first time a road course race will occur during the playoffs.

Here is a full rundown of how the field qualified, courtesy of NASCAR.com:

1. Kurt Busch: 106.868 mph

2. AJ Allmendinger: 106.811 mph

3. Alex Bowman: 106.800 mph

4. Chase Elliott: 106.596 mph

5. Kyle Larson: 106.574 mph

6. Jimmie Johnson: 106.462 mph

7. Clint Bowyer: 106.332 mph

8. Jamie McMurray: 106.104 mph

9. Ryan Blaney: 105.919 mph

10. Chris Buescher: 105.556 mph

11. Daniel Hemric: 105.507 mph

12. Erik Jones: 105.409 mph

13. Martin Truex Jr.: 106.060 mph

14. Kyle Busch105.807 mph

15. Joey Logano: 105.788 mph

16. Trevor Bayne: 105.749 mph

17. Daniel Suarez: 105.687 mph

18. Michael McDowell: 105.681 mph

19. Kevin Harvick: 105.302 mph

20. Aric Almirola: 105.189 mph

21. William Byron: 105.120 mph

22. Paul Menard: 105.095 mph

23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 104.884 mph

24. Austin Dillon: 104.709 mph

25. Brad Keselowski: 104.647 mph

26. Ty Dillon: 104.620 mph

27. Denny Hamlin104.479 mph

28. Matt DiBenedetto: 104.352 mph

29. Ryan Newman: 104.341 mph

30. David Ragan: 104.033 mph

31. Justin Marks: 103.936 mph

32. Regan Smith: 103.549 mph

33. Cole Whitt: 103.260 mph

34. Bubba Wallace: 102.716 mph

35. Ross Chastain: 102.677 mph

36. J.J. Yeley: 102.034 mph

37. Jeffrey Earnhardt: 101.950 mph

38. Landon Cassill: 101.089 mph

39. Stanton Barrett: 100.255 mph

40. Timmy Hill: 100.071 mph

NASCAR on NBC provided the following video of Bush narrowly beating out AJ Allmendinger for the right to start on the inside of Row 1 on Sunday:

Busch is a comfortable eighth in the playoff standings, and he holds a 15-point lead over Clint Bowyer in 13th. Sunday's race will result in the elimination of four drivers from championship contention, setting the round of 12.

The decision to make the first-ever road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway a playoff race has been met with some skepticism due to the lack of familiarity the drivers have with the roval.

That didn't seem to bother Busch, but it did impact some of the biggest names in the sport, as top title contenders Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski all failed to reach the final round of qualifying.

Playoff contender Denny Hamlin also struggled, as he hit the wall during his qualifying run and finished 27th:

Hamlin is 16th in the standings and trails the cutoff line by 29 points, which means he likely needs a win Sunday to advance.

During pre-qualifying practice, another playoff driver, Austin Dillon, damaged his car as well:

Dillon went on to qualify 24th, but he is in a good position as the 10th-place driver—10 points ahead of 13th.

Several drivers outside the playoff mix performed well in qualifying due to their expertise on road courses, including Allmendinger and the unheralded Daniel Hemric, who surprisingly reached the final round and qualified 11th.

Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell are among the other non-playoff drivers who qualified inside the top 20 and will have a chance to play spoiler Sunday.

By virtue of Sunday's pole, Busch has now won four poles on the season, and he has a good chance to reach the second round of the playoffs after finishing a disappointing 14th in the standings last season.

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