AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kyle Busch earned the pole at Phoenix International Raceway and Jimmie Johnson escaped injury after a crash in NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying Friday.
Johnson was on his second lap in the final round on the mile oval when he had an issue on the left side of his car and rammed into the second-turn wall at full speed. The right front of the No. 48 car took the most damage.
"Certainly a lot of straight in an area of the track that I didn't need to have straight. We'll have to get to the bottom of it," Johnson said.
Busch won his 18th career pole with a lap of 138.387 mph.
Carl Edwards qualified second and Denny Hamlin was third, giving Toyota the top three spots for the race Sunday. Edwards, asked if past disappointment at Phoenix has stuck with him, replied: "I had a dog that died when I was a kid and that really stuck with me, too.''
Dale Earnhardt Jr. failed to advance past the first round and will start 26th.
The first round of qualifying including a bizarre red flag after Kasey Kahne's car began smoking near the dash. He said he tried to turn the car off and it kept running.
"I'm really confused," he said.
Kahne's car was towed to the garage. He earned the 24th spot, but will need a new engine and will start at the rear Sunday.