MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Kyle Busch has seen it time and again at Martinsville Speedway. Driving down pit road, the pole-sitter guns the engine just off the jack and reassumes the lead.
Busch hopes to experience that Sunday after earning the pole for the STP 500 Sprint Cup race on NASCAR's smallest, tightest track. "You need to still run up front all day," he said Friday after turning a lap of 99.674 mph. "I think it's a great opportunity for us to pick up some spots say if we're second, third, fourth, whatever."
In a twist under NASCAR's new qualifying system, Busch won the pole despite Joey Logano breaking the track record. His 100.201 mph came during the first phase of qualifying. All 44 cars competed in the 30-minute first session, and the top 12 advanced to the 10-minute second phase.
"So we've got a track record, but we don't have a pole," he said. "How does that work?"
A solid pit position, he said, could make up for that.
"Obviously, the pit stall is very important, especially here," he said. "It's a slow pit road, and you can make up a lot with timing lines on pit road. For that reason alone, it's big, and that's worth multiple spots throughout the race when you're thinking about making a lot of pit stops."
Denny Hamlin (99.548) will start second followed by Logano (99.428). Danica Patrick (98.165) was 10th, her best for a race not held at Daytona.
F1: Red Bull experienced more issues with the fuel-flow sensors during practice for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, raising the prospect of another showdown with series officials. Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified after finishing second in Australia on March 16 because Red Bull exceeded the new fuel-flow limit of 100 kilograms per hour. Red Bull blamed the issue on faulty readings from the series-approved fuel sensors and has appealed. The sensors on Ricciardo's car malfunctioned again at Sepang, the team said, showing a discrepancy with the team's own fuel-flow readings. The team said it will talk with series officials if the problem persists today.