Busch sets track record, Truex 2nd

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

SPARTA, KY.» Kyle Busch set a track record to earn his first Ken­tucky Speed­way pole be­fore thun­der­storms short­ened NASCAR Cup Se­ries qual­i­fy­ing on Fri­day.

Busch, a two-time win­ner of Satur­day night’s 400-mile race, clocked 190.282 mph in the No. 18 Toy­ota for his third pole this sea­son and 22nd of his ca­reer. Third in points, the Joe Gibbs Rac­ing driver seeks his first Cup vic­tory since last sum­mer at In­di­anapo­lis.

Martin Truex Jr. will start sec­ond with Busch’s JGR team­mate Matt Kenseth third as Toy­otas claimed four of the top five spots in the 40-car field. Jamie McMur­ray (189.713) starts fourth in a Chevy with JGR’s Denny Ham­lin (189.687) next.

Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing’s Erik Jones qual­i­fied 14th.

The pole was the sec­ond of two Busch claimed on Fri­day; he also earned the top spot for the Xfin­ity Se­ries race.

Xfin­ity Se­ries event post­poned.

NASCAR post­poned Fri­day’s Xfin­ity Se­ries event at Ken­tucky Speed­way af­ter se­vere thun­der­storms threat­ened the area shortly be­fore the green flag.

The post­pone­ment fol­lowed Thurs­day night’s rain-de­layed Camp­ing World Truck Se­ries race that be­gan three hours late and con­cluded early Fri­day morn­ing. Cup se­ries qual­i­fy­ing had just con­cluded its sec­ond round Fri­day evening be­fore dark clouds gath­ered over the track and led of­fi­cials to can­cel that ses­sion and quickly post­pone the Xfin­ity race to Satur­day at 10 a.m..

Busch ran a fast lap of 181.935 mph to top Erik Jones, who clocked 181.635 mph to earn the sec­ond spot.

Kenseth likely done at Joe Gibbs Rac­ing.

NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth said Fri­day he has no job lined up next year and likely has no fu­ture at Joe Gibbs Rac­ing.

“I’m not re­ally wor­ried about it but as of to­day, I do not have a job for next year. Hope to still be rac­ing,” Kenseth said at Ken­tucky Speed­way. “I think I got some wins left in me and hope­fully race for championships. Right now, I’m fo­cus­ing on fin­ish­ing up this year.”

Kenseth is the 2003 cham­pion and twotime Day­tona 500 win­ner. He is in his fifth sea­son driv­ing for Gibbs and his 18th over­all.

But, he does not be­lieve re­turn­ing to the No. 20 Toy­ota is an op­tion for 2018. Erik Jones is likely go­ing to be moved into that car from Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing, Gibbs’ sis­ter team.

“I do not think I will have the op­tion to re­turn to race at JGR next year. Un­for­tu­nately,” he said.

One pos­si­bil­ity is re­plac­ing Dale Earn­hardt Jr. at Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports — or even slid­ing into the No. 5 should Rick Hen­drick de­cide to re­lease Kasey Kahne. But, a slot at Hen­drick may not be a slam­dunk. Kenseth is 45 and would likely be a place-filler un­til a younger driver is ready and that could be sooner rather than later.

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