Kyle Busch wins pole at Phoenix as Hendrick teams struggle

Kyle Busch celebrates after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 11, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.

Kyle Busch celebrates after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 11, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.

Kyle Busch led a Joe Gibbs Racing qualifying parade at Phoenix International Raceway Friday. Busch was able to win his third pole at Phoenix and the 18th of his career with a lap of 26.014, 138.387 mph late in the final session.  Unlike the second race of the season at Atlanta where he won the pole only to see it stripped after failing inspection, there were no issues for the reigning Sprint Cup champion Friday night as he earned his first official pole since Pocono Raceway last August.

“It was a good day,” Busch said “Unloading off the truck everything seemed to go real well. I wasn’t sure about our speed in race trim but then hopped over to qualifying trim and for as not as good of a feel that the car was we had some good speed so that was definitely a plus. Being able to have some good laps there and qualify this afternoon and being able to run a really good lap there in the last session.”

His JGR teammate Carl Edwards will start second, followed by JGR racer Denny Hamlin in third. The fourth Joe Gibbs entry for Matt Kenseth will start sixth Sunday.

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