AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kyle Busch stormed to the pole position for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Int’l Raceway during Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
The 200-mile race is the penultimate event of the season (5:30 p.m. E.T., NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM).
Busch ran a time of 26.445 seconds (136.132 mph) to beat his Joe Gibbs racing teammate and Chase contender Erik Jones in the final round of qualifying.
For the Las Vegas-born driver and defending Sprint Cup champion, Saturday marked his ninth pole of the season and 54th of his XFINITY career.
Jones timed in second (26.483/135.936) and is looking for a smooth race on Saturday in order to ensure himself a chance of competing for the title in Homestead-Miami next weekend.
Starting third is fellow Chaser Ryan Reed, who finds himself five points behind fourth-starting Blake Koch, the fourth and final driver in the Chase coming into Saturday evening’s race.
Reed’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. rounded out the top five and is in a must win situation, 20 points back of the cutoff line.
Other qualifying notables included points leader Daniel Suarez in sixth, Cup series pole sitter and Arizona native Alex Bowman in seventh, Chasers Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler in ninth and 10th and Brad Keselowski in 11th position.
Chaser Brendan Gaughan will start 25th on Saturday afternoon after his team mistimed their departure from pit lane in the final moments of qualifying in round one, with Gaughan failing to make it back to the flag in time.
David Starr, Morgan Sheppard, Ryan Ellis and Dexter Stacey all failed to make the 40-car starting field.