Kurt Busch wins the pole for the Coca-Cola 600

In the first qualifying session since NASCAR’s return to on-track racing amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Kurt Busch claimed the pole position for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch, driver of the No. 1 GEARWRENCH Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Chip Ganassi Racing, secured the pole with a time of 29.79 seconds at 181.269 mph, which was 0.009 seconds faster than Jimmie Johnson (29.799 seconds/181.214 mph).

The pole award was Busch’s 28th of his Cup Series career, second at Charlotte and first of the season. It also marked Busch’s first pole while driving for car owner Chip Ganassi and the first time the 2004 series champion won the pole since Talladega Superspeedway in October 2018.

“I’m just so proud of [crew chief] Matt McCall and all our guys and the way we have to communicate right now, and get through everything as far as those last-minute details and those fine adjustments,” Busch said on FOX Sports. “But, wow, what a Chevrolet brigade up front. This is pretty sweet! GEARWRENCH is on our car only a few times a year and I really want to push them up front. This is an awesome pole. I was more geared up, in my mind, towards downforce and being ready for 600 miles, so this means Matt McCall has something up his sleeve and we should be good tonight. This is a great run and happy birthday, Chip [Ganassi]!”

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Johnson, an eight-time winner at Charlotte and four-time Coke 600 champion, will start on the front row in his 19th and final start in the 600-mile event.

Matt DiBenedetto will start the main event at the rear of the field in a backup car after he slapped the outside wall entering Turn 4 while attempting to complete his qualifying lap. Aric Almirola was also involved in an incident, where he spun entering Turn 4 and made the slightest of contact to the outside wall before spinning toward the infield. While the damage was repairable and prevented Almirola from dropping at the rear of the field in a backup car, he will start at the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments. Brad Keselowski, J.J. Yeley and Timmy Hill will also drop to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments.

The race will commence on May 24 at 6:28 p.m. ET on FOX.

Starting lineup:

1. Kurt Busch

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Chase Elliott

4. Matt Kenseth

5. Tyler Reddick

6. Austin Dillon

7. Joey Logano

8. Martin Truex Jr.

9. Brad Keselowski – will start at the rear of the field

10. William Byron

11. Kyle Busch

12. Alex Bowman

13. Denny Hamlin

14. Erik Jones

15. Christopher Bell

16. Ty Dillon

17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18. Ryan Newman

19. Chris Buescher

20. Clint Bowyer

21. Ross Chastain

22. Kevin Harvick

23. Bubba Wallace

24. Corey LaJoie

25. John Hunter Nemechek

26. Ryan Blaney

27. Michael McDowell

28. Cole Custer

29. Ryan Preece

30. Quin Houff

31. Gray Gaulding

32. Timmy Hill – will start at the rear of the field

33. Matt DiBenedetto – will start at the rear of the field

34. J.J. Yeley – will start at the rear of the field

35. Brennan Poole

36. B.J. McLeod

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Garrett Smithley

39. Joey Gase

40. Aric Almirola – will start at the rear of the field

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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