By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
The last time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series visited Atlanta Motor Speedway, a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck piloted by Christopher Bell dominated the weekend, winning the pole, both stages and the race.
The boss of KMB looks to repeat the feat, as Kyle Busch took the top spot for Saturday afternoon’s Active Pest Control 200. Busch put down a lap at 179.743 mph (30.844) in the No. 4 Toyota to earn the 19th pole of his Truck Series career. It’s the second pole of the weekend for Busch, as his No. 18 Toyota starts first for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta.
“My lap was pretty good, certainly felt more stuck (to the track) the first time around than the second time around,” Busch told Fox Sports 1 regarding the multiple-round qualifying.
“We even picked up a little bit of time on that second one. We were really, really tight here last year (when Busch finished 26th) and made some good changes to it through the off-season with notes and things and come back here better prepared.”
Busch looks to build upon his 183 NASCAR national series victories of which 49 have come in the Truck Series and four have come in the series at Atlanta. Matt Crafton joins Busch on the front row as he looks to win in a truck on pavement for the first time since 2016 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Crafton has a prior victory at Atlanta and finished second last year to Bell. Busch and Crafton are the only two drivers in Saturday’s field that have been to victory lane at Atlanta.
Noah Gragson, Spencer Davis, Justin Haley, Dalton Sargeant, Stewart Friesen, Cody Coughlin, Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Joe Nemechek and Jesse Little rounded out the top-12.
The qualifying efforts by Gragson and Davis give KBM three of the top-four starting positions.
Gragson is competing for the title in the No. 18 Toyota and looks to rebound after a 23rd-place result at Daytona. The 19-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native will pilot the same truck Bell drove to last season’s dominating victory and also has crew chief Rudy Fugle, who called the shots for Bell.
The 19-year-old Davis is making the second of five scheduled starts for the team this weekend after finishing seventh in his Truck Series debut last weekend at Daytona. The Dawsonville, Georgia native calls Atlanta his home track and is hoping a win would result in the famous siren blaring at the Dawsonville Pool Room, a tradition started for fellow Dawsonville residents Bill and Chase Elliott.
Sauter won the season-opener last weekend at Daytona International Speedway and is the last Truck Series driver to open the season with back-to-back victories, accomplishing the feat in 2013.
The last eight races at the 1.54-mile track in Georgia have seen eight different winners. Tim Viens and Travis Kvapil failed to qualify for the 32-truck starting grid that features 20 Chevrolets, seven Toyotas and five Fords.
Television coverage of the Truck Series race at Atlanta is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1 as the finale of a rare doubleheader with the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The scheduled distance is 200.2 miles (130 laps) with Stages 1 and 2 set for 40 laps each.
The full starting lineup can be found by clicking here.