Busch, Crafton Win Pole Positions for Heads Up Georgia 250 and Great Clips 200
A day after winning and then losing the Sprint Cup Series pole, Kyle Busch was again the fastest around the track in XFINITY Series qualifying Saturday morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Busch, whose Sprint Cup Series car didn't pass inspection Friday evening, is on the pole for the Heads Up Georgia 250. It's the fifth time Busch will start first in an XFINITY Series race at AMS, but he's still looking for his first win.
The 30-year-old does have two wins here in the top series, though.
"Yesterday is more important than what today is, but overall I couldn't be more pleased with the NOS Energy Camry," said Busch, who missed last year's events at AMS due to injury. "It's just about trying to have a good race today and stay up front."
The top three cars were all from Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch was the fastest at 185.499 mph, followed by Erik Jones (185.078) and Daniel Suarez (185.022).
Chevys occupy 10 of the next 11 spots in the lineup for the 1:30 p.m. race. Kyle Larson is fourth, Brennan Poole is fifth and Ty Dillon completes the third row.
A win for Busch would make him just the second driver to take the checkered flag in all three national NASCAR series at Atlanta. Kevin Harvick was the first. Harvick, who has won the last three XFINITY races at AMS, qualified 10th.
"Yesterday the car actually drove really good," Busch said. "I was pleasantly surprised about what it felt like.
"I think you're still going to see some cars slipping and sliding. This is Atlanta."
Of the top 11 starters, six will also race in tomorrow's Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Those include Busch, Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, and Ty Dillon
AMS Legends alumni Brennan Poole and Ty Dillon will start side-by-side on the third row, while Darrell Wallace, also on the AMS Legends alumni list, will start 18th.
Matt Crafton won Atlanta's Camping World Truck Series race last year, but Saturday was the 39-year-old's first pole at the historic track.
Crafton was quickest around the 1.54 miles, running at 179.790 mph (30.836 seconds), for his 12th career pole.
He said the team devoted its Friday practice time to long runs rather than the single laps for qualifying.
"So I'm pretty happy with it," Crafton said.
Only .072 seconds separated first from fourth place in qualifying. Georgian John Wes Townley was second (179.685, 30.854).
"This is a really tough racetrack," Townley said. "It's all about tire management."
Christopher Bell (179.662, 30.858) and Grant Enfinger (179.371, 30.908) are on the second row.
The green flag for the Heads Up Georgia 250 is set to wave at 1:30 this afternoon, while the Great Clips 200 will round out the same-day doubelheader immediately following, beginning at 4:30 p.m.