Three-time N.H. winner leads the Loudon field for first time in storied career
LOUDON, N.H. – Kurt Busch turned the first lap in the final session of qualifying and watched as nobody was able to post a faster lap in the five-minute-session to capture his first pole position at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At a track where his brother Kyle Busch has dominated on qualifying day, today belongs to Kurt, who stood with the Cape Cod Café Pizza Pole Award.
“I like the way we made the right changes through each of the rounds and we stuck to a game plan,” said Kurt. “That’s exactly what you hope to happen each time you go to qualifying where you don’t have to deviate away from the plan you set in place.”
Kurt turned his best lap of the session’s final round with a speed of 133.591 mph for the pole. He was fourth fastest in the first round as he posted a lap of 132.817, and then was sixth in the second round with a 133.221 lap to advance to the final round.
The final results set up a great Sunday duel between the Busch brothers. Kyle steered his no. 18 M&Ms Toyota to the fastest overall lap of 133.656 mph, which was tops in the second qualifying round. Add to the drama that Martin Truex Jr. qualified second after capturing the 2017 pole at NHMS, and you have a trio of titans ready to lead the field for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
In celebrating his first New Hampshire pole award, Kurt praised the addition of traction compound to the turns of “The Magic Mile.” He predicts the extra stick will mean even more competitive racing this weekend. “It will help big time,” explained Kurt. “When your car is working good you can pass with the VHT in lane 1 and lane 3; it changes the game.”
This is the third pole victory of 2018 for the driver of the no. 41 Monster Energy Ford, but he is still searching for his first trip to Victory Lane this season. He’s confident this is a step towards that goal. “It’s great to be on pole,” said Kurt. “It’s exactly what we needed to start that second half vibe going on.”
For full schedule and ticket information on all 2018 events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including the July 20-22 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend and the September 21-22 Full Throttle Fall Weekend, please stop by the ticket office, visit the speedway website at www.NHMS.com or call Fan Relations at (603) 783-4931.