NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

 
          === Ky. Busch wins Phoenix pole, Johnson qualifies 24th ===
 
 Avondale,  AZ  (Sports Network)  - Kyle  Busch will  start on  the pole in the
 AdvoCare  500, while points leader Jimmie Johnson struggled in qualifying with
 a 24th-place finish on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.
 
 Busch,  who was fastest  in practice earlier in the day and therefore the last
 driver  to  make a  qualifying  run  in the  44-car  field,  set a  new  track
 qualifying  record at Phoenix with a lap at 138.766 mph. Carl Edwards held the
 previous  record  at this flat  one-mile racetrack with  a lap at 137.279 mph,
 which he set in Feb. 2011.
 
 It's  the  second pole for  Busch this  season and the  10th of his Sprint Cup
 Series career. He also won the pole at Phoenix in April 2006.
 
 "The  guys (No. 18  Joe Gibbs Racing team) have done a great job," Busch said.
 "We unloaded strong, and we were fast right off the truck, and so we were just
 kind  of making  some fine-tune  adjustments to  it. The  car ran  great right
 there.  We  adjusted a little  bit from  practice to qualifying, expecting the
 track to change some, and we hit it right on the money. The car was awesome."
 
 Martin  Truex Jr.  held the  provisional pole  late in  qualifying with  a lap
 138.217 mph. Busch topped Truex by 0.103 seconds.
 
 "It  was a good  lap," Truex said. "We had good speed all day long. Obviously,
 the  late draw  was  something that  we  knew was  going to  be  big. We  were
 fortunate  enough to be able to get that and go out late, put down a good lap.
 It  wasn't  good enough, but nonetheless  a good starting spot for Sunday, and
 hopefully we'll be able to turn that into something big."
 
 Denny  Hamlin,  who won at  Phoenix in  February, qualified third, while Kasey
 Kahne,  the  defending  race  winner,  took the  fourth  spot.  Aric  Almirola
 completed the top-five.
 
 Kurt  Busch, Paul  Menard, Regan Smith, Tony Stewart and Mark Martin qualified
 sixth through 10th, respectively.
 
 Johnson  holds a  seven-point lead over Brad Keselowski with just two races to
 go  in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Johnson has won the last two
 Chase  events -- Martinsville  and Texas. He won the pole position and led the
 most laps in the previous two races as well.
 
 "It  wasn't so  good," Johnson  said of  his qualifying  attempt. "We've  been
 fighting  a little bit in qualifying trim, but we've got a great baseline race
 setup  to go off of. For me, it was really turn one (the sun glare). The glare
 was pretty bad getting into the turn then getting the power down was tough for
 me  up off of  (turn) two. Three and four were pretty good I felt like on both
 of my laps, but I struggled oddly enough down there this time."
 
 Johnson  holds the  record for most wins at Phoenix with four, including three
 in the Chase. His most recent victory there came in Nov. 2009, a race which he
 led  238 of 312  laps. Johnson also holds the record for most laps led at this
 one-mile oval with 931. He has an average finish of 5.3 in his 18 races there.
 
 Keselowski qualified 14th.
 
 J.J.  Yeley,  a Phoenix-native, was the  only driver who failed to qualify for
 Sunday's 312-lap race, which is scheduled to start just after 3 p.m. (ET).
 
 11/09 20:51:06 ET

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