By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
LAS VEGAS – Kyle Busch is the only driver to have won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the pole position, a feat he accomplished in 2009.
But Busch won’t have that opportunity in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at the 1.5-mile race track (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX). Busch was 24th in the first round of Friday’s knockout qualifying session, barely advancing to Round 2. Ultimately, he qualified 23rd at 192.795 mph, considerably slower than brother Kurt Busch’s pole-winning speed of 196.328 mph.
“Obviously, we were pretty disappointed with qualifying,” Busch said. “We struggled with qualifying trim in practice earlier, along with qualifying itself. The front tires were chattering and there wasn’t much we were going to do to fix that out there.
“Our race trim car was OK on Thursday, so I expect our M&M’S Camry will race a lot better than that. We have two practices (on Saturday) to get it better for the race on Sunday, and I know (crew chief) Adam (Stevens) and the guys will work hard to try and get us where we need to be.”
But the first Saturday morning practice brought more disappointment. Busch could muster only 188.180 mph in race trim, leaving him 27th quickest in the session. In contrast, Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards paced the 29-car field at 191.564 mph in a backup car.
Relative to the field, however, Busch improved in final practice, posting the 14th fastest speed (188.022 mph).
Image: Chris Trotman/Getty Images