NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying: New Hampshire

Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Kyle Busch, who drives the #18 Toyota Camry car will start on the pole for Sundays NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Busch finished runner-up in both of the races at this track in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and will be hoping that he can get the win from the pole this time around.

Hendrick Motorsports driver and six time Sprint Cup Series champions Jimmie Johnson will start on the front row with Busch after qualifying in the second spot. Johnson posted a new track record time of 27.642 on his run in the last session of qualifying only to be pipped by Busch who did a 27.574.

Stewart Haas Racing co-owner and driver, Tony Stewart, will start third after posting an early time in the last session that held up against the drivers that did a later run. Alongside Stewart will be Jamie McMurray who was also fourth fastest in practice this afternoon.

Team Penske duo, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, who were both at the top of the chart during qualifying will start in 5th and 6th places respectively.

The first round of qualifying, which was a 30 minute session with all 43 drivers in it, began with Keselowski posting a new track record time of 27.792 on his first lap of the session. But Denny Hamlin then posted another track record time of 27.762 on his second lap in the first session.

After five minutes had elapsed Johnson went to 3rd with a time of 27.823 and Stewart and Paul Menard, who was quickest in Nationwide Series practice, rounded out the top five.

With 23 minutes left Kyle Busch went into third on his first lap of qualifying and immediately to his car back to pit lane, where he would stay for the remainder of the session to save his tires. But Ryan Newman in the #31 Caterpiller Chevy had his first time disallowed for violating a rule.

With ten minutes of time elapsed Martin Truex Jr jumped into fifth and pushed Menard out of the top five.

Half way through the first session and Hamlin, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Johnson and Truex Jr made up the top five in qualifying. Logano was on the bubble in 12th position and Brian Vickers was just outside by 0.01 of a second.

Twelve minutes were left in the session and driver of the #87 car this weekend Timmy Hill was the only driver not to make a run on track yet. 

With only ten minutes remaining drivers began to make their second runs on track, but a Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson who were 3rd and 17th on the chart, had an advantage over the others as they had only turned one lap on their tires.

Seven minutes remained when Hill made his first run, but he could only manage to go to 42nd on the leaderboard. 

Into the last five minutes and Logano jumped into 2nd place on his second run out which knocked Truex Jr out of the top five. Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Johnson were now the top five.

As the clock reached zero the top twelve drivers who advanced to round two of knockout qualifying were: Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski, Kyle Bisch, Johnson, Truex Jr, Bowyer, Gordon, Harvick, Stewart, McMurray and Kahne.

Rookie Larson, after being 2nd in practice, could only manage to be 13th and Card Edwards (14th), Matt Kenseth (15th), Kurt Busch (18th), Austin Dillon (23rd), Greg Biffle (27th), Dale Earnhardt Jr (28th), and Jeff Burton (30th) were the big name drivers to not advance to round two.

Larson told the press: "Little bit disappointed, wish we could have run two laps in the first run. But it's a successful day even though we haven't made the top 12 but you can win the race from 13th."

At the end of the first round of qualifying just 0.148 seconds separated Hamlin in 1st and Kahne in 12th.

Round two was a ten minute session and Stewart was the first driver to go to the top of the charts, after four cars had made a run, with a 27.786 which was a tenth quicker than his round one time.

Half way through the second round and only four drivers, Stewart, Hamlin, Logano and Keselowski had made a run whilst other drivers including ajohnson and Kyle Busch sat at the end of pit road.

When they did finally make their runs with 3 and a half minutes left on the clock, both of them out in a new track record time first Johnson with a 27.642 and then Busch with a blistering 27.574.

As other drivers tried and failed to beat his time with only a few minutes left on the clock, Kyle Busch took the Coors Light Pole Award for Sundays race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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