Ky. Busch edges Kahne for New Hampshire pole

6:15 PM, Jul 13, 2012   |    comments
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Loudon, NH (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch topped Kasey Kahne by a very slim margin to win Friday's qualifying session for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Busch, who was the last driver to qualify in the 44-car field, turned a lap at 133.417 mph for his first pole of the season and the ninth of his Sprint Cup Series career. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was quickest in practice here earlier in the day.

"We unloaded with a really good race car," Busch said. "We just had to backup our practice time from earlier today, and we were able to do that. We bettered it just a little bit to put us on the pole."

Kahne, the 41st driver in the qualifying order, held the provisional pole with a lap at 133.403 mph, but Busch knocked Kahne from the top position by just 0.003 seconds.

"It was really close as far as the time," Kahne said. "Everybody seemed to have been close."

Denny Hamlin, who has recovered from back spasms he suffered last week at Daytona, qualified third, only 0.001 seconds behind Kahne.

"I said after I got out of the car that it was pretty much all it had, speedwise," Hamlin said. "The car had to be tighter in order to be faster. Maybe I could've squeezed about four one-thousandths (of a second) out of it."

Martin Truex Jr. placed fourth, followed by his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, Clint Bowyer.

Ryan Newman, the defending race winner, qualified sixth, while Kahne's Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were seventh through ninth, respectively. Tony Stewart, last Saturday night's race winner at Daytona, completed the top-10.

Matt Kenseth, the current points leader, will start 27th. Kenseth enters this event with a 25-point advantage over Earnhardt Jr.

Bowyer presently sits 10th in the point standings, while Busch and Joey Logano, who qualified 16th, are first and second in the wild card rankings. Eight races remain before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Mike Bliss was the only driver who failed to qualify for Sunday's 301-lap race at New Hampshire, which is scheduled to start just after 1 p.m. (ET).

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