Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch won the pole for Saturday night’s Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Speedway with a fast lap of 127.077. Busch now will sit on his first pole since March 2009 in Las Vegas.
“It’s nice to sit on the pole every once in a while,” Busch said. “I only get the opportunity maybe once a year.”
Reutimann and his team got off to a bad start at practice, but ended Friday in good shape for the NASCAR race Saturday night.
“It is two opposite ends of the spectrum from where we were when we unloaded to where we are now,” he said. “We weren’t very good at the beginning of the practice. We were way off, to be honest with you. … We made some big adjustments that got us a lot better.”
Busch has found Richmond and the 0.75-mile oval track to be somewhat of a place of refuge. He won both races there a year ago and winning the pole is a great start to get another win Saturday. A win would be huge for Busch. His last Sprint Cup victory came in August of last year at Bristol and he is currently riding a 21-race winless streak.
“We’ve had some opportunities where we should have won races,” he said. “We’ve also had opportunities where we should have run 15th or 18th and we finished top 10.”
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, teammates for Hendrick Motorsports, have made headlines as of late with their dispute and will start in the second row. They will be followed by Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Jamie McMurray. Johnson appeared to be the reason Gordon wrecked at Talladega which began a war of words between the two, but both agree the air has been cleared. Johnson stated his team was in a bit of a struggle as well.
“Really really pleased,” he said. “It seems like a lot of guys are really struggling to get grip, but we couldn’t produce a lap time as fast as some of our teammates were. … At the end of practice, we found a few things that gave us a little bit of hope.”
Busch will enter the race as the favorite according to NASCAR sportsbooks with odds set at 4/1 to win the Crown Royal 400. Johnson and Gordon have their odds set at 6/1 and 8/1 respectively. Johnson is also a favorite to win the 2010 Sprint Cup Championship with 19/10 odds. Busch is set at 10/1 and Gordon at 8/1.