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NASCAR: Kyle Busch sets record as he takes New Hampshire pole

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/11/18/38/QxT6b.Em.138.jpeg|217
    Cheryl Senter - AP
    Kyle Busch heads to Victory Lane after winning the pole position Friday in Loudon, N.H., for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/11/18/38/OkyXP.Em.138.jpeg|209
    Jared C. Tilton - Getty Images
    Kyle Busch set a track qualifying record Friday on his way to winning the pole for Sunday’s Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

LOUDON, N.H. Kyle Busch said he does best when he can just take off and go.

He certainly did Friday, setting a track qualifying record on his way to winning the pole for Sunday’s Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Busch, who was fourth-fastest in Round 1 of knockout qualifying, went out late in Round 2 to set his record average lap speed of 138.130 mph. Ryan Newman set the previous record of 136.497 mph in 2013.

Jimmie Johnson qualified second, Denny Hamlin was third, Tony Stewart fourth and Jamie McMurray was fifth. Sprint Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon will start 11th.

“I gave it everything I had. I thought it was a little too tight, but I guess it carried some good speed,” said Busch, who earned his second pole of the season and 15th of his career.

“We’ve been close on the win here. The biggest thing is I like to be able to take off and go and when I can take off and go, that’s when it tends to get too tight. That’s when the other guys were beating us last year.”

Busch, who won in New Hampshire in 2006, finished second in both New Hampshire races last season.

Burton back on the track

NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton, now working as a TV analyst for NBC Sports, will make what could be his final career start in Sunday’s race at New Hampshire. Burton will drive the No. 66 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.

“I am pretty excited to get the opportunity to work with Burton, who has a lot of experience,” MWR crew chief Chad Walter said. “He obviously has a lot of success at New Hampshire.

“This could be Burton’s last time racing (here) so we are going to do everything that we can to try and get him into Victory Lane.”

TNT wrapping up final weekend

On Sunday, when the checkered flag flies in the Cup race at New Hampshire, it will mark the conclusion of a partnership lasting more than 30 years between NASCAR and Turner Sports.

In a new 10-year deal which begins next season, NBC and Fox will broadcast the Cup and Nationwide series schedules.

“There is no question that the folks at Turner have been fantastic partners for the past 32 years, and we can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done to grow the sport during that time frame,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France said.

Awards shows set

Once again, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center will host the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series awards and the NASCAR Night of Champions awards.

The All-American series banquet is Dec. 12, while the Night of Champions touring series awards will be on Dec. 13.

Newman a winner

Cup driver Ryan Newman won the inaugural Whelen Modified All-Star Shootout on Friday, holding off Justin Bonsignore for the victory in the two segment, 30-minute timed race.

“It was a good run. I had a lot of fun, especially trying to hang on to the lead on the final lap,” Newman said.

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