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USA USA
Qualifying report
NASCAR Cup Madison

Kyle Busch nips Blaney by just 0.008s for Gateway Cup pole

Kyle Busch withstood a stout challenge from Ryan Blaney to win the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Blaney, who ended a 59-race winless streak with his victory last weekend at the Coca-Cola 600, had posted the fastest speed of the day in Round 1 of qualifying.

Although he was the last of the 10 cars to qualify, Blaney came up just .008 seconds short in his quest to start this week’s race where he ended last week’s.

Busch, who went out in the first five in the final round, ended with the top average lap speed of 137.187 mph to win his first pole of the season and first since 2019. He now has 33 in his career.

“I did a lot of things (different),” Busch said of the difference between Rounds 1 and 2. “We made a lot of adjustments to the race car as well. I knew there was speed in it, it was just a matter of hitting it right and doing everything I needed to do behind the wheel.

“I got everything I could get out of it in (Turns) 1 and 2 and seemed to be just good enough in (Turns) 3 and 4 beat (Blaney). Overall, a great day for us.”

Blaney ended up second at 137.153 mph while Denny Hamlin – who was fastest in long runs in Saturday’s practice – ended up third (136.903 mph).

“I really thought that lap was going to get there,” Blaney said of his attempt to catch Busch. “I was impressed with the lap (Busch) put down, that was a fast lap.”

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 starters are Joey Logano, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric.

Blaney and Brad Keselowski both lost their spot in pit selection for Sunday’s race as each failed pre-qualifying inspection twice.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 8 United States Kyle Busch Chevrolet 1 32.802     137.187
2 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 1 32.810 0.008 0.008 137.153
3 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 1 32.870 0.068 0.060 136.903
4 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 1 32.903 0.101 0.033 136.766
5 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 1 33.001 0.199 0.098 136.360
6 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 1 33.006 0.204 0.005 136.339
7 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 1 33.030 0.228 0.024 136.240
8 1 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 1 33.090 0.288 0.060 135.993
9 45 United States Tyler Reddick Toyota 1 33.140 0.338 0.050 135.788
10 2 United States Austin Cindric Ford 1 33.203 0.401 0.063 135.530

Round 1 / Group A

Hamlin, who had the fastest long-run speed in practice, topped the first round of Group A qualifying with an average lap speed of 136.874 mph.

Reddick ended up second-fastest (136.861 mph) and Byron was third (136.372 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Busch and Logano.

Among those who failed to advance were Alex Bowman, Keselowski and Michael McDowell.

Round 1 / Group B

Blaney, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt in Group B, laid down the fastest average speed of the day at the time at 137.208 mph.

Chastain was second-fastest (136.999 mph) and Harvick third (136.895 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Cindric and Truex.

Among those who failed to advance were A.J. Allmendinger, Daniel Suarez, Ty Gibbs and Christopher Bell.

During his qualifying lap, Corey LaJoie – substituting for the suspended Chase Elliott – drifted up and hit the wall with the right side of his No. 9 Chevrolet.

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