Kyle Busch tops Logano for Phoenix pole

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Hendrick Motorsports driver was in a must-win situation Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

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The pole is the 32nd of Busch's NASCAR Cup Series career but first since last October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. "Just having a good pace, and I think this is actually the first race of the year we made a mock (qualifying) run in practice, so maybe there's something to that". The guys did a great job. We fight hard each and every week to figure out what we need to do to continue to improve, and a lot of other guys have certainly done that over the year.

"Hopefully today bodes well for tomorrow", he said. "I really don't know".

Hamlin qualified third on Saturday at 139.394 miles per hour, one spot ahead of teammate Martin Truex Jr., who already is locked into the Championship 4 by virtue of his victory in the opening race of the Round of 8 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Overall, proud to start out front in this very important race.

Martin Truex Jr. (P) was fourth fastest at 139.324 miles per hour with Kyle Larson (P) completing the top five at 139.238 miles per hour. Kurt Busch was eighth at 138.910 miles per hour, and Erik Jones was ninth at 138.862 miles per hour. Ryan Blaney (P) was the lowest qualifying playoff driver in 10th at 138.755 miles per hour.

Four drivers - Elliott, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto and Ross Chastain - each failed pre-qualifying inspection twice.

Each team had its vehicle chief ejected for the remainder of the weekend and will lose 15 minutes of practice time next weekend at Homestead.