LEBANON, Tenn. – All-time NASCAR Xfinity Series wins leader Kyle Busch will begin his quest for his 100th career victory from the best seat in the house.
Busch raced to the pole position for the Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday afternoon with a blistering 30.420 second (157.396 mph) lap in the No. 54 M&M’s Toyota Supra.
It marked the 70th career Xfinity Series pole for Busch, a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, and the third time he’s topped qualifying at the 1.33-mile concrete oval in NASCAR’s second-highest series.
“I just had to try not to over slip [the car], I guess,” said Busch of the key to his pole-winning lap. “I thought there was going to be a bit more grip out there. Obviously, qualifying times are higher because you’ve got the car taped up and everything for speed, but it slipped a little more than I was expecting it to. We were a bit on the tight side, but overall the guys did a great job and came here with a really fast Toyota Supra.
“I’m excited about carrying our M&M’s colors on Saturday and Sunday this weekend and, hopefully, being able to go after that 100th win here today and get that done,” Busch added. “But there’s some stiff competition … Jason Ratcliff [No. 20 crew chief] and I probably have the most experience here, especially together over the years that we’ve been here, so we’ll probably have to be racing Harrison [Burton] in that [No.] 20 car at the end of the day.”
Busch will be joined on the front row later Saturday afternoon by Austin Cindric, who timed in second fastest in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang at 30.556 seconds (156.696 mph).
Two of Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Burton and Daniel Hemric, will share the second row of the starting grid, with Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger filling out the top five in a Chevrolet Camaro.
Jeb Burton, Brandon Jones and Myatt Snider qualified sixth through eighth, respectively, with the surprise of qualifying – Big Machine Racing’s Jade Buford – starting ninth as a local favorite.
“It was pretty fun,” said Buford of his qualifying lap. “It has been an awesome weekend so far. We unloaded quick off the truck, and the guys trusted me to go out and put one in. We’re all very pleased with the result.
“It’s a big deal for us,” added Buford of starting up front. “I think the track will be difficult to pass and the racing will be close, but I’ll take everything I can get and see what we can make of it in the race.”
Noah Gragson closed out the top 10 in qualifying, just ahead of his JR Motorsports teammate, Justin Allgaier.
Notables starting deeper in the field include Justin Haley (12th), Will Rodgers (14th), Tyler Reddick (17th), Riley Herbst (20th), Michael Annett (21st), and Josh Berry (22nd).
With 42 cars on the property for 36 starting spots, six drivers – Chad Finchum, Timmy Hill, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Colby Howard, Dillon Bassett and Gray Gaulding – all failed to qualify.
Finchum missed out on the top-31 speed cutoff by a scant .066 seconds in his No. 42.
Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250 is slated for a 3:30 p.m. ET start, with live coverage on NBCSN, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
To view the full starting lineup, advance to the next page.