NASCAR New Hampshire Starting Lineup 2012: Kyle Busch Leads Loudon Qualifying

Kyle Busch qualified the way he practiced on Friday -- at the top of the chart.

Edging Kasey Kahne by .003 seconds and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin by .004, Busch won the pole for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a lap at 133.417 mph.

The last of 44 drivers to make a qualifying attempt -- because he was fastest in opening practice -- Busch prevailed in an intensely competitive Friday qualifying session to win his first Coors Light pole award of the season, his first at New Hampshire and the ninth of his career.

Kahne (133.403 mph) will start next to Busch on the front row, with Hamlin (133.399 mph) taking the green flag from the third starting spot in the 19th Cup race of the season. Martin Truex Jr. (133.338 mph) will start fourth, followed by two-time New Hampshire winner Clint Bowyer (133.319 mph).

Ryan Newman qualified sixth, followed by the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reigning Cup champion Tony Stewart, last week's winner at Daytona, starts 10th. Series leader Matt Kenseth will take the green deep in the field, from the 27th position on the grid.

Busch came perilously close to the outside wall near the end of his money lap but kept his car clean.

"I got in the throttle really early in (Turns) 3 and 4, trying to make speed and was able to finish it," Busch said. "But the car slipped right at the last second when you get to that older asphalt -- it seems like this tire (new from Goodyear for this race) is different from the older tire, where you lose just a pinch of grip -- it slid out right to the cushion point, I guess you'd say. But, no, there's no mark on the car, so it's a good day."

Hamlin posted his lap despite the absence of crew chief Darian Grubb, who is celebrating the birth of his daughter Gabriella, who arrived Monday morning. Mike Wheeler, Hamlin's race engineer, took Grubb's place on the pit box.

Hamlin thought he lost the pole coming to the green on his first qualifying lap.

"Yeah, I thought maybe I could have gotten to the green a little bit better," Hamlin said. "You know your first lap's going to be the money lap, so I typically run into Turn 1 -- really at all racetracks -- a little bit easier and try to make up the ground as I go.

"But with qualifying as tight as it is, you've got to maximize everything to get poles, and obviously that was the difference."

Mike Bliss was the slowest of eight drivers required to qualify on speed and failed to make the 43-car field.

Here is the starting lineup for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kasey Kahne
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Clint Bowyer
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Jeff Gordon
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  10. Tony Stewart
  11. Greg Biffle
  12. Kevin Harvick
  13. Brian Vickers
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Kurt Busch
  16. Joey Logano
  17. Regan Smith
  18. Bobby Labonte
  19. David Ragan
  20. Marcos Ambrose
  21. Carl Edwards
  22. Brad Keselowski
  23. Aric Almirola
  24. Sam Hornish Jr.
  25. Jeff Burton
  26. David Reutimann
  27. Matt Kenseth
  28. Jamie McMurray
  29. Landon Cassill
  30. Travis Kvapil
  31. Juan Pablo Montoya
  32. Josh Wise
  33. Casey Mears
  34. Joe Nemechek
  35. Dave Blaney
  36. Michael McDowell
  37. Ken Schrader
  38. JJ Yeley
  39. David Gilliland
  40. David Stremme
  41. Scott Riggs
  42. Kelly Bires
  43. Stephen Leicht
DNQ: Mike Bliss
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