Busch, Bell claim pole positions for Saturday double header
Defending champ Kyle Busch began a very busy Saturday by winning his sixth XFINITY Series pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a top qualifying lap of 30.156 seconds for the Rinnai 250.
His Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, Christopher Bell, just edged him out for the Camping World Truck Series pole later in the morning.
The Rinnai 250 is set for 2 p.m. Saturday with the trucks' Active Pest Control 200 following at 4:30 p.m.
"It's always good to qualify well, obviously it helps you get a better pit selection, etc., but we're just trying to make sure we get the best-handling truck we can and help (crew chief Kevin Manion) help these younger guys with my being around all weekend long," Busch said. "There's a very good opportunity as well that Christopher Bell can get it done today, too. So looking forward to the race tonight and making sure we get a KBM truck in Victory Lane."
Busch outdueled Kyle Larson last year for his first XFINITY Series win at AMS.
"It's certainly a bit more rewarding when you're up front, having that opportunity," Busch said. "That's definitely good for this team. This is a new group of guys for me, so new challenges for me this year."
XFINITY Series rookie and AMS Thuraday Thunder alum William Byron was second (30.167), Brad Keselowski was third (30.186) and Kyle Larson was fourth (30.241). Denny Hamlin and Daniel Hemric are on the third row.
Of the top six qualifiers, only Byron and Hemric are allowed to earn points for the standings as fulltime XFINITY Series drivers. Two more series rookies, Matt Tifft and Cole Custer, are on the fourth row.
Busch was right back on the 1.54-mile track for truck qualifying and had the best time of 30.782 seconds — until Bell swept in on the final run to claim the pole with a time of 30.643.
Busch gave a double thumbs-up when Bell's lap was in the books.
Rookies Austin Cindric (30.817) and Chase Briscoe (30.851) were on the second row.
"I love this place so far," Briscoe said. "It's my first time coming here and it's really cool that we're slipping and sliding around. I'm looking forward to the race."
Alex Bowman was fifth, defending truck series champion Johnny Sauter was sixth. Dawsonville native Chase Elliott, driving a truck for the first time at AMS, was ninth.
For more information or to purchase tickets today, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS- TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.