Kyle Busch wins play­off pole at Chicagoland Speed­way

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Kyle Busch raced to the top spot at Chicagoland. But Brad Ke­selowski was the driver pegged as the No. 1 tar­get by the rest of the Cup field. Ke­selowski shook up a lazy Friday at Chicagoland Speed­way with a tweet that ac­cused NASCAR of let­ting Toy­ota get ahead of the rest of the man­u­fac­tur­ers.

NASCAR should have been buzzing about the start of its 10-race play­off to crown a cham­pion. In­stead, it was 140 char­ac­ters and ver­bal jabs that stole the show. Busch opened his bid for a sec­ond NASCAR Cup cham­pi­onship with a lap of 187.963 mph to win the pole Friday night at Chicagoland. “I’m way be­hind in pay­back, just FYI,” Busch said. “He’s way ahead. If any­body’s go­ing to be get­ting it, it’s go­ing to be him.”

Busch and Joe Gibbs Rac­ing team­mate Denny Ham­lin will start on the front row and fel­low Toy­ota driver Martin Truex Jr. was third. Truex has four wins and the Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing driver is a fa­vorite to win his first ca­reer Cup ti­tle.

“I’d like to know what Toy­ota’s pay­ing Brad, be­cause he’s been our best spokesman,” Ham­lin said. NASCAR play­off driv­ers Kevin Har­vick, Ke­selowski and Kyle Lar­son had the next three spots.

Ke­selowski said this week Fords didn’t have the speed needed to win the cham­pi­onship and sug­gested the cham­pi­onship fi­nale would be com­prised of four Toy­ota driv­ers. “Win­ning counts and some­times you have to catch a lit­tle bit of luck. That hap­pens. The fastest car doesn’t al­ways win. That has been the case a few times with late yel­lows and so forth,” Ke­selowski said Friday. “Win­ning races is more than one thing, it al­ways has been and al­ways will be. You al­ways like to be close but right now we aren’t close.”

Ke­selowski, the 2012 Cup cham­pion, con­sid­ers him­self a bit of a spokesman at times for the sport given his ten­ure and ac­com­plish­ments. He’s locked in to a longterm deal with Penske and Ford and has rarely backed down from speak­ing on the state of the in­dus­try.

“I am not look­ing over my shoul­der wor­ry­ing about get­ting a ride with an­other man­u­fac­turer one day and that gives me some priv­i­leges that maybe some other guys don’t have,” he said. Busch and Ke­selowski have long been ri­vals and tan­gled on and off the track.

“If you ask Brad, he can fix the world’s prob­lems,” Busch said. Top 10 spots for other driv­ers rac­ing for the cham­pi­onship over the fi­nal 10 races in­clude: Chase El­liott eighth, Austin Dil­lon ninth, and Matt Kenseth 10th.

Ryan Blaney is 12th, seven-time cham­pion Jim­mie John­son starts 14th, Ricky Sten­house Jr. is 15th, Ryan New­man 16th, Kurt Busch 17th, Jamie McMur­ray 19th and Kasey Kahne 25th.— AP

JOLIET: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skit­tles Sweet Heat Toy­ota, pre­pares to prac­tice for the Mon­ster En­ergy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Tur­tles 400 at Chicagoland Speed­way yes­ter­day in Joliet, Illi­nois. — AFP

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