By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – In qualifying for the NASCAR Monster Energy All-Star Race, several teams stood above the rest. In All-Star race qualifying, it is the average of three laps including a green flag pit stop that determines the starting lineup.
Kevin Harvick was fastest in Round 1 with his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch second. Kyle Busch was third, Jimmie Johnson fourth, and Kyle Larson fifth fastest in Round 1. They were the five to transfer to Round 2 of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for the All-Star Race.
Although he did not win the pole, or transfer to Round 2, Ryan Newman may have had one of the more impressive runs of the 16 drivers eligible for the Monster Energy All-Star Race. While preparing for his green flag pit stop in All-Star qualifying, Newman’s No. 31 Catepillar/Grainger Chevrolet SS broke loose sending him into a four-wheel drift. The Richard Childress Racing driver recovered, driving straight out of the drift and onto pit road. Newman ended up qualifying 15th out of the 16 drivers.
Kyle Larson earned the pole position after putting down the fastest legal lap in Round 2. Kyle Busch was second fastest, 0.010 seconds slower than Larson, with Harvick third and Johnson fourth. Kurt Busch had run the fastest average lap time, but two loose lug nuts cost him the pole, relegating him to the fifth starting spot.
Kyle Busch thought that the different format was interesting,
“It’s fun. It’s unique. It’s something different, so it gives an opportunity for variation. Certainly, kind of threw us for a little bit of a loop today with switching pit boxes there for that switch in between the first session and the second session. Other than that, I thought our lap was really good. We had speed in our race car. I wish we were a little bit better for a starting position, but we’ll be top five so we’ll take it.”
Larson was proud that he and his team were mistake-free in All-Star Race qualifying,
“It’s my first time doing this. It’s nice that we had a second round there to get a second tenth out of that. I picked up some time there. This was all about not making mistakes. Everybody but us made mistakes in that last round. So, I am proud of everybody on this Target Chevy team, especially our pit crew. Our pit crew saved me in that first round to get us into this second round. And getting the pole is pretty sweet. It’s so much fun. I’ve been wanting to do that. It’s my fourth season in Cup now and I have wanted to do it every year.”
Now Larson, Kyle Busch, and the rest of the NASCAR All-Stars will prepare to race for $1 Million tomorrow night.