Busch Brothers Make NASCAR History; Myers Tames Charlotte; Seuss Claims First Title
Kyle Busch earned the pole position on Bojangles' Pole Night with a lap of 197.390 mph in the final session of knockout qualifying on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But it was his brother Kurt Busch who walked away with the new track record after posting a hot lap of 198.976 mph in the second qualifying session - the fastest NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying lap recorded on a 1.5-mile superspeedway. Both Busch brothers, along with 19 other drivers, bested the previous track record of 195.624 mph set by Denny Hamlin in 2013.
"In qualifying you are just asking for hundredths or thousandths of time," Busch said. "You have to make sure you are doing everything right behind the wheel. Tonight, we did everything right."
Jeff Gordon did almost everything right but came up short in his pole bid. He will start outside the front row for Saturday's Bank of America 500 after a lap of 197.217 mph.
"It was so fast, so much commitment," Gordon said. "I just got into turn three too hard, got too aggressive, and was getting out of it too much. Looking back on it, we felt like we had a car that could have been on the pole tonight. It was a little bit of a letdown that we didn't get it."
KYLE BUSCH (POLE WINNER, NO. 18 DOUBLEMINT TOYOTA) - "It seems whoever was the most consistent was going to get the pole. (Crew chief) Dave (Rogers) made some really good adjustments. We tested here and were happy about it and unloaded today and weren't so happy. We hit one piece of the puzzle each week and we are working on it. It's Charlotte, we need grip and to be faster. It felt pretty good to come out here at this time of day, set fast time, fast lap in qualifying there that last session. We got ourselves in a good spot to where we can start out front, get in clean air … and to get the first pit selection. That's always a positive thing, especially here with green flag pit stops, but also under the cautions getting off of pit road. We are just trying to fine tune and in qualifying you are just asking for hundredths or thousandths of time. You have to make sure you are doing everything right behind the wheel. Tonight, we did everything right."
JEFF GORDON (SECOND PLACE, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET) - "It was so fast, so much commitment. I just got into turn three too hard, got too aggressive, and was getting out of it too much. It was a great effort. To practice during the day and qualify at night is tough. Looking back on it, we felt like we had a car that could have been on the pole tonight. It was a little bit of a letdown that we didn't get it. I did feel like the car was fast enough to do it. During the second segment I just overdrove it going into three. I just got off of it too much in the third segment."
DENNY HAMLIN (THIRD PLACE, NO.11 FEDEX GROUND TOYOTA) - "It was a good qualifying run. Obviously, it was a good session, so we will just keep working on the car. I'm pretty excited about that lap. We'll keep working. I felt like we were better in race trim than qualifying. We will try to put ourselves in a good position for the race Saturday night. We are getting better. We are getting closer and closer to the feel. We did test here and it was a good test. We have always raced well on these types of tracks. To know that we have a good qualifying spot, and in turn a good pit selection, we are setting ourselves up for a good night on Saturday."
MYERS WINS SOUTHERN SLAM 150 - Burt Myers proved he has the winning formula at Charlotte Motor Speedway, capturing his third win at the track Thursday in the Southern Slam 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race. Myers had to survive a green-white-checkered finish to beat J.R. Bertuccio and reigning tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III to the finish.
"I don't know what it is here; I just took to this place," Myers said. "Maybe Charlotte Motor Speedway just likes me. When you pull into Victory Circle here, it's a feeling that you just can't explain. "
Rounding out the top three were Kyle Ebersole and newly crowned tour champion Andy Seuss.
It was the first tour championship for Seuss, who capped his Victory Lane celebration by proposing to girlfriend Jenn Demarco. She said yes.
Pole winner Ryan Preece looked to be the car to beat early on before mechanical issues ended his day around the halfway mark. Six caution periods slowed the field for 40 of the 150 scheduled laps.
BURT MYERS (SOUTHERN SLAM 150 WINNER, NO. 1 CITRUSAFE/SPEEDWAY AUTO AUCTION FORD) - "We struggled a little bit today. We were hesitant to change the car because it had been so good. This is the first time it has been on a track of this nature, so we really didn't know what to expect. Instead of trying to over-think ourselves, we left it kind of the way it was. We adjusted all day and made adjustments right before the race, and man, it paid off. We had to wait for it to come in, but when it came in, it took off. On the restarts it is hard to get heat in your front tires, and the man on the inside can really use you up if you aren't careful. That happened to me early. What can I say, these guys have busted their tail all year. I don't know what it is here. I just took to this place. Maybe Charlotte Motor Speedway just likes me. When you pull into Victory Circle here, it's a feeling that you just can't explain."
ANDY SEUSS (FIFTH-PLACE FINISH SOUTHERN SLAM 150, NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR CHAMPION, NO. 11 NORTHEAST RACE CARS/IDEAL FINANCE CHEVROLET) - "I wouldn't even talk about winning the championship. I just knew we needed to have a solid race. The team gave me an amazing car capable of more than a fifth-place finish. But at the end, we were just trying to protect ourselves. I can't thank them enough. To say it's a dream is the truth. I really didn't think it was a goal or attainable. But I got bunch of crazy people pushing me, who help me when I think it's not possible. It is very special to beat George (Brunnhoelzl) and to be the one to dethrone their team. (About the proposal) It was a special deal. I hadn't told anybody. I wanted it to be that way, and to win the championship made it perfect. The ring was my grandmother's and had been in the family, so that made it more special."