An "insanely fast" lap was enough to give Kurt Busch the pole-position Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his hometown track where he's still seeking a career-first win.
The Las Vegas native immediately established himself to capture the pole in the first of three rounds in the knockout format, as his lap of 196.378 mph broke Jeff Gordon's previous track-record set last year.
But Busch overdrove in Round 2, allowing Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano to post faster times before Busch rebounded in the decisive third session with a pole-winning speed that equaled his Round 1 lap.
Busch also won the pole a week ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His best result is third in 14 previous Las Vegas races.
"Man, I wasn't going to lift for anything," Busch said. "I was giving it all I had. I'm really proud of the team to help me get to that third round. I was over driving the car and I needed to settle in and Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a great adjustment in that last round.
"I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole. Now, we've got to go to work. I hope we can get the car dialed in for long run speed for Sunday."
Logano, Matt Kenseth, Keselowski and Austin Dillon completed the top-five qualifiers for Sunday's Kobalt 400. Defending race-winner Kevin Harvick starts sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex seventh through 10th, respectively.
Carl Edwards looked as if he would be a contender for the pole, setting the fourth-fastest time in Round 1. But as the Joe Gibb Racing went out for his hot lap in the subsequent round, Edwards No. 19 Toyota wiggled loose -- he was uncertain if a deflating right rear tire caused the accident -- and clipped the outside Turn 2 wall.
Because of significant damage to the right rear, Edwards will switch to a backup car and drop to the rear of the field Sunday.
"In a way starting the race from the rear is kind of fun, other than the fact that it's harder, it's kind of a neat challenge," Edwards said. "I've done it a bunch in my career. I think statistically when we start in the rear we do pretty well. We'll just go for it."
To clean up debris stemming from Edwards' incident, NASCAR displayed a red flag stopping the session just as Brian Vickers was attempting to record a speed. Team owner Tony Stewart argued with officials saying Vickers should have been permitted to complete his lap, but officials did not reverse their decision.
Vickers re-qualified and will start 19th Sunday.
"I'm going to go talk to NASCAR officials in a minute and find out," Stewart said. "They said it was a safety issue. We will find out. I know they will have a reason for it, but we are just going to put our two cents in and a different side for them to look. So hopefully we won't have to deal with that scenario in the future."
All 39 drivers who entered qualified.