Kurt Busch clutches pole for O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
By Dominic Aragon
April 6, 2018
FORT WORTH—Impending weather halted qualifying Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, earning Kurt Busch the top starting position for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Sunday.
Busch posted the fastest time with a 27.36 second lap (197.368 mph) in Round 1, the only round completed in qualifying.
“I am gaining more and more confidence in Billy Scott and our lead engineer on the way they are pinpointed on finding that tenth of a second that the car needs,” Busch said. “We have done that in practice and qualifying and now need to translate that into the race. Mainly the second half.
“We have done good in the first and second stages but we need to close the races out stronger. That is our next step.”
The pole is Busch’s first of 2018 and 23rd of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, tying the 2004 champion for 31st on the all-time list with Ken Schrader and Jack Smith.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick will start on the outside pole, his second front row start of 2018.
Clint Bowyer will start in third, Ryan Blaney is fourth and Denny Hamlin will round out the top five.
2017 spring Texas race winner Jimmie Johnson will start ninth.
Reed Sorenson was the only driver to not turn a lap in qualifying. Sorenson’s No. 55 Toyota will start 37th, last.
Joshua A. Hill/TRE