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Kyle Busch focused leading up to Camping World RV Sales 301

July 11. 2014 8:40PM

Kyle Busch won pole position during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, on Friday in Loudon. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

LOUDON - KYLE BUSCH had a couple of very nice runs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last season.

He wants to be just a tad better this year, beginning on Sunday in the Camping World RV Sales 301.

The Las Vegas resident is in position to accomplish his goal. Busch put down a track record lap in NASCAR’s first try at NHMS of its new knockout qualifying system on Friday and will start from the pole on Sunday.

Several drivers, racing under new rules packages that have increased down force and thus grip and speed, went under the previous record, which was set last year by Ryan Newman.

Kyle Busch beat them all with his lap of 27.574 seconds for an average speed of 138.130 miles per hour.

He edged Jimmie Johnson’s 27.642 and 137.790.

“I thought I had enough to get the pole,” Johnson said. “Then I saw Kyle’s lap. He really put one down.”Denny Hamlin qualified third and Tony Stewart was fourth.

Kyle Busch won this race in 2006. Last year, he turned in a pair of runner-up finishes at NHMS: to Brian Vickers in the July race and to Matt Kenseth in the Sylvania 300 in September.

“We’ll see if we can make it one spot better on Sunday,” Busch said.

He’ll also try to turn things around from a bit of a rough stretch.

He was third in the Cup point standing as of the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend. He slipped six spots in the next six races — he had a 42nd and 41st finish in one span of three races — and is in the No. 9 spot coming into the weekend.

The good news is he has a race win, which is all-important in this first year of NASCAR’s adjusted format for making the Chase to the Sprint Cup championship.

Sixteen drivers will make the Chase and wins are the top priority for selection.

There are only eight races left before the Chase begins and 11 different drivers have won at least one race.

Five of the top 10 qualifiers for Sunday’s race — Stewart in the fourth starting spot, Jamie McMurray in fifth, Clint Bowyer in eighth, Martin Truex Jr. in ninth and Kasey Kahne in 10th — are still looking for their first win of the season.

Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have Chase spots locked down with two wins each and earned the sixth and seventh qualifying spots.

Logano’s effort was especially impressive. He had a flat on his left rear tire in an early practice on Friday, smacked into an outside wall and had to turn to a backup car.

Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., a veteran New England racer, will start 40th in his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 32 Ford owned by Frank Stoddard of North Haverhill and Archie St. Hilaire of Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

MATT FRAHM, 24, of Hampstead, was 27th in the final practice session for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Paul Menard was first in practice, Kyle Busch second and Keselowski third.Ryan Preece of Connecticut, who also is running today’s Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco 100, was seventh.

The Nationwide Sta-Green 200 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The Sunoco 100 is at 1 p.m.

RYAN NEWMAN got his weekend off to a good start with a win in the first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout on Friday afternoon.

Newman dueled with Justin Bonsignore on the final lap for his victory.

Modified veteran Mike Stefanik finished third. Preece was sixth.

Newman loves racing Modifieds here and has become a regular in the events. He has two wins and four poles in Modifieds at the track. And oh yes, he has three Cup wins, too.

“This was a good tuneup for us with a brand new car,” Newman said.

“Something of a shakedown to get ready for tomorrow’s race.”

Newman is entered in today’s Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco 100 as well.

He qualified 24th for Sunday’s Cup race.Andy Seuss of Hampstead finished 13th in the 20-driver All-Star race that was divided into two segments.

Seuss is racing in today’s Modified event, too.

Camping World RV Sales 301

After qualifying; race Sunday at NHMS in Loudon

Lap length: 1.058 miles (car number in parentheses)

Pos. car Driver Manufacturer Sponsor Best Speed Best Time Behind

1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 138.130 27.574 Leader

2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 137.790 27.642 --0.068

3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 137.081 27.785 --0.211

4 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 137.076 27.786 --0.212

5 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald’s 137.017 27.798 --0.224

6 22 Joey Logano Ford 136.815 27.839 --0.265

7 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Redds 136.805 27.841 --0.267

8 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy 136.702 27.862 --0.288

9 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet Furniture Row 136.629 27.877 --0.303

10 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Great Clips/Shark Week 136.174 27.970 --0.396

11 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 136.058 27.994 --0.420

12 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 135.912 28.024 --0.450

13 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target 136.384 27.927 --0.353

14 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 136.296 27.945 --0.371

15 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General 136.257 27.953 --0.379

16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Duracell / Menards 136.257 27.953 --0.379

17 55 Brian Vickers Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 136.223 27.960 --0.386

18 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Haas Automation 136.184 27.968 --0.394

19 43 Aric Almirola Ford Charter 136.170 27.971 --0.397

20 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Kingsford Charcoal 136.150 27.975 --0.401

21 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford DeWalt 136.116 27.982 --0.408

22 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Wegmans/Cargill 135.922 28.022 --0.448

23 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Dow 135.820 28.043 --0.469

24 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Caterpillar 135.718 28.064 --0.490

25 51 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet AccuDoc Solutions 135.487 28.112 --0.538

26 34 David Ragan Ford Taco Bell 135.385 28.133 --0.559

27 16 Greg Biffle Ford NESN 30th Anniv. Fusion 135.304 28.150 --0.576

28 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet National Guard 135.217 28.168 --0.594

29 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy 135.117 28.189 --0.615

30 66 Jeff Burton Toyota Let’s Go Places Toyota Camry 135.117 28.189 --0.615

31 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 134.667 28.283 --0.709

32 98 Josh Wise Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 134.435 28.332 --0.758

33 38 David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver’s 134.288 28.363 --0.789

34 40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Newtown Building Supplies 133.614 28.506 --0.932

35 26 Cole Whitt Toyota TapOut Muscle Recovery 133.576 28.514 --0.940

36 23 Alex Bowman Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry 133.254 28.583 --1.009

37 36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet TBA 133.217 28.591 --1.017

38 83 Ryan Truex Toyota Burger King Toyota Camry 132.177 28.816 --1.242

39 7 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet 131.719 28.916 --1.342

40 32 Eddie MacDonald Ford 131.560 28.951 --1.377

41 93 Mike Bliss Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry 130.779 29.124 --1.550

42 87 Timmy Hill Toyota Royal Teak Collection 129.379 29.439 --1.865

43 33 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Thunder Coal 127.885 29.783 --2.209

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