MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Kyle Busch won the pole Friday at Martinsville Speedway and didn’t set the track record. That belonged to Joey Logano.
In one of the quirks of the new NASCAR qualifying procedure, Busch posted the top speed at 99.674 mph in the final qualifying round to win the pole and the right to lead the STP 500 field to green Sunday.
In the opening round, which determined the 12 drivers who advanced to the pole-setting round as part of NASCAR’s new 2014 qualifying format, Joey Logano turned a lap of 100.201 to set the track record.
Logano (99.428 mph in the final round) will start third, behind the Joe Gibbs Racing front row of Busch and Denny Hamlin (99.548).
“(Winning the pole here) is something that doesn’t happen very often, with at least me behind the wheel,” said Busch, who was third in the opening round. “It is a great day for us and the whole team.”
“Denny is always really good here at Martinsville,” Busch said. “We always come here, we always predict Denny to win or finish second to the 48 (of Jimmie Johnson). … It’s just a matter of fighting out to the end.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Jeff Gordon will start fourth and fifth. Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray and Danica Patrick rounded out the top-10.
It was just Patrick’s second career top-10 qualifying effort with the other her historic pole in the 2013 Daytona 500.
Teams have two practices scheduled for Saturday although their track time could be limited because of weather.
Busch did four runs in race-trim Friday in case it rains Saturday and feels prepared for Sunday at a track where he has eight top-fives but no wins in 18 Cup starts.
“To finally close out the deal, you have to beat some good company (here),” Busch said. “There’s always going to be guys that are fast. It’s just a matter of maybe outsmarting them or being the best of them at that given time come lap 500.”