Skip to content

Kyle Busch earns New Hampshire Sprint Cup pole, Jimmie Johnson starts 2nd; 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd also in

Jul 11, 2014, 5:53 PM EDT

(AP Photo/Terry Renna) AP

Kyle Busch blistered the one-mile flat oval at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during Friday’s qualifying, being the only driver to exceed 138 mph to grab the pole for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301.

Busch’s pole-winning speed was 138.130 mph at 27.574 seconds. It’s his 15th career Sprint Cup pole, his second career pole at NHMS and his second pole of 2014.

“I gave it everything I had,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “I thought I was a little too tight, but I guess I was just driving through it enough that it was still carrying some good speed and I had the throttle down on both ends. I was thinking it was going to be a solid top-4, so I’m real proud of these guys on this (team).

“We didn’t unload great but made some good changes, some good ground today and hopefully we’ll do some more tomorrow.”

Busch finished second in both races at NHMS last season, including to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth in the the fall Chase race there.

Jimmie Johnson was second-fastest at 137.790 mph, followed by Denny Hamlin (137.081), Tony Stewart (137.076), Jamie McMurray (137.017) and Joey Logano (136.815).

“It’s tough to get a good lap around here,” Johnson said. “Of course we want to get the pole and want to be faster, but Kyle (Busch) found a little bit more out there than us. … This helps make the weekend so much easier to race with a good pit stall pick, track position and you can fine tune from here. Hopefully we can fine tune to make this a race-winning car.”

Seventh through 12th-fastest in qualifying were Brad Keselowski (136.805 mph), followed by Clint Bowyer (136.702), Martin Truex Jr. (136.629), Kasey Kahne (136.174), Jeff Gordon (136.058) and Kevin Harvick (135.912).

Notable items during the session:

* Joey Logano crashed in the first practice round and had to go to a backup car for Sunday’s race, but still managed to qualify sixth.

* Three of the top 10 qualifiers are still looking for their first win of the season: Tony Stewart (starts fourth), Clint Bowyer (eighth) and Kasey Kahne (10th). Also looking for his first win, after earning a series-high seven wins last season, is Matt Kenseth (qualified 15th).

* Morgan Shepherd, 72, qualified last and will take the green flag for Sunday’s race.

* Daytona winner Aric Almirola qualified 19th.

* Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled in qualifying, the only Hendrick Motorsports driver who failed to make it in the top 11. Earnhardt will start Sunday’s race from the 28th position.

* Rookie Kyle Larson was among the fastest drivers in practice, but failed to advance to the second and final qualifying session. He’ll start 13th.

“A little bit disappointed,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “Oh well, we tried hard. This car has speed in it. We were pretty fast in practice. All in all, it’s a successful day for us, except for not making the final round. But we can still win the race from 13th place.”

* Carl Edwards will start 14th, just barely missing the top 12 in qualifying.

“This place is deceptively difficult,” Edwards told Fox Sports 1. “It’s pretty tough. It’s a simple layout but your car just has to be perfect. It has to hit the seams just right, get off the brakes right, apply the throttle correctly. I guess a couple hundredths more and we’d have been in the final (qualifying) round.”

 

Here’s the starting grid for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

Row 1 Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson

Row 2 Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart

Row 3 Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano

Row 4 Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer

Row 5 Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne

Row 6 Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick

Row 7 Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards

Row 8 Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard

Row 9 Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch

Row 10 Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger

Row 11 Marcos Ambrose, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Row 12 Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman

 

Row 13 Justin Allgaier, David Ragan

Row 14 Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Row 15 Danica Patrick, Jeff Burton

Row 16 Casey Mears, Josh Wise

Row 17 David Gilliland, Landon Cassill

Row 18 Cole Whitt, Alex Bowman

Row 19 Reed Sorenson, Ryan Truex

Row 20 Michael Annett, Eddie McDonald

Row 21 Mike Bliss, Timmy Hill

Row 22 Morgan Shepherd

Did not qualify: none

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. Royal Purple, Manpower to Horsepower program to be featured in Red Bull GRC this week

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Photo: Manpower to Horsepower Photo: Manpower to Horsepower

    Feature on Manpower to Horsepower to air during Red Bull GRC show this Sunday on NBC.

  2. F1 and classic machinery at Goodwood, 2015, in photos

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

    McLaren Formula One driver and 2009 World champion Jenson Button prepares to drive the ex Ayrton Senna McLaren MP4. Photo; Getty Images Getty Images

    A selection of images from the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

  3. Red Bull GRC: SH Rallycross premieres patriotic HAUS livery for MCAS

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Photo: SH Rallycross Photo: SH Rallycross

    SH Rallycross’ HAUS livery for Red Bull GRC this weekend screams red, white and blue.

  4. Graham Rahal’s Fontana win was long overdue, and a long time coming

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    RahalWinGroup Getty Images

    Given how well they’ve run this year, it was really only a matter of time until Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing won a race.

  5. Report: Filippi, Brabham set for IndyCar oval tests

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Josef Newgarden, Luca Filippi AP

    Luca Filippi and Matthew Brabham set for oval tests this Wednesday at Iowa Speedway.

  6. Young drivers star in mixed, primarily wet conditions at Watkins Glen

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    BurkettWG Getty Images

    This weekend’s miserable conditions at Watkins Glen offered a lot of young drivers a chance to shine.

  7. Report: Roger Penske intends to keep his ‘four aces’ in IndyCar

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    roger penske 2015 getty Getty Images

    The 2015 season is the first time Roger Penske has captained four teams on the IndyCar circuit. And it appears it will be full steam ahead with four teams going forward.

  8. Mario Andretti gets Jay Leno up to speed — and then some

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:53 PM EDT

    jay leno mario andretti getty 2015 Getty Images

    Comedian and former late-night talk show host Jay Leno has spent his career making millions laugh. But recently, the joke was on Leno, so to speak – but in a good way.

  9. Racing legend Parnelli Jones featured in upcoming Indy 500 film

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:24 PM EDT

    parnelli jones Getty Images

    If you’re a big fan of the Indianapolis 500 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, put this on your bucket list for next year.

  10. NHRA: Antron Brown looks to make Top Fuel fireworks this weekend

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:18 PM EDT

    Antron Brown Getty Images

    With five races coming up in the next six weeks, Top Fuel driver Antron Brown knows how crucial this stretch of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season will be.

  11. Pippa Mann revels in career-best IndyCar finish at Fontana

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:47 PM EDT

    Pippa Mann earned a career-best 13th-place finish in Saturday's MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Getty Images

    Finishing 13th in her Dale Coyne Racing Honda, Pippa Mann enjoyed the best showing of her IndyCar career in Saturday’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

  12. After tough recent outings, Jack Hawksworth relishes 10th-place showing at Fontana

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:37 PM EDT

    jack hawksworth 2015 Fontana getty Getty Images

    Jack Hawksworth enjoyed one of his better runs of 2015 in Saturday’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

  13. MAVTV 500: Despite being nerve-racking to crazy, drivers glad safety won out

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT

    briscoe crash fontana 2015 getty Getty Images

    Although it’s been two days since the MAV TV 500, a number of IndyCar drivers are not going to soon forget one of the wildest races the series has seen in a long time.

  14. Senna delighted with fourth in London ePrix after hard battle with Buemi

    Jun 28, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28:  Bruno Senna of Brazil driving for Mahindra Racing during qualifying at Battersea Park Track on June 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Brazilian driver ends the Formula E season with his best finish of fourth.

  15. VisitFlorida.com Racing survives wet weather for Watkins Glen win

    Jun 28, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT

    VF90win Getty Images

    Westbrook and Valiante take their second win of the year at Watkins Glen.

  16. De Silvestro happy with London ePrix weekend, open to more Formula E starts

    Jun 28, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28:  Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro during first practice on the second day of the 2015 FIA Formula E Visa London ePrix Championship at Battersea Park Track on June 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The IndyCar driver finished 11th and 12th in two races at the London ePrix this weekend.

  17. Rahal thanks fans, well-wishers on Twitter after overdue win Saturday

    Jun 28, 2015, 3:10 PM EDT

    Photo: Getty Images Getty Images

    Graham Rahal back on Twitter on Sunday after win on Saturday.

  18. Di Grassi: Formula E title lost with “joke disqualification” in Berlin

    Jun 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28:  Championship contender Lucas di Grassi of Brazil during second pracctice on Day two of the 2015 FIA Formula E Visa London ePrix Championship at Battersea Park Track on June 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Brazilian driver remains upbeat despite losing out on the title to bitter rival Nelson Piquet Jr.

  19. Piquet “shocked” by turnaround that led to Formula E championship win

    Jun 28, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Nextev TCRs Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet JR celebrates at the end of the race after winning the inaugural World Championship title after the 2015 FIA Formula E London ePrix championship at Battersea Park in London, England, on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON        (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Brazilian driver talks about his rise from the midfield to the title across the course of the inaugural Formula E season.

  20. WATCH: IndyCar’s frantic, thrilling MAVTV 500 to re-air at midnight ET on NBCSN

    Jun 28, 2015, 1:36 PM EDT

    MAVTV500replay Getty Images

    Watch a replay of yesterday’s crazy MAVTV 500 from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana either online via NBC Sports Live Extra, or on NBCSN tonight.