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NASCAR’s Kyle Busch loses Atlanta pole position when car fails inspection

Kyle Busch’s car

Crew members work on Kyle Busch’s No. 18 car after it failed a post-qualifying inspection on Friday.

(John Amis / Associated Press)

Kyle Busch’s car failed a post-qualifying inspection on Friday, sending him from the pole position to the back of the pack for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

The ruling leaves brother Kurt Busch as the pole winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kurt Busch ran strong through all three elimination rounds of qualifying and had the top speed at 191.582 mph before he was topped by Kyle’s fast lap of 191.668 mph in his No. 18 Toyota.

Kyle Busch is the defending Sprint Cup series champion.

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Scott Miller, NASCAR’S senior vice president of competition, said a laser inspection revealed the rear toe, which affects alignment, on Kyle Busch’s car did not meet specifications. Miller said Busch and his crew chief, Adam Stevens, do not face additional penalties.

Miller said the violation was found in the new laser test.

“This is a way to police that,” Miller said. “Teams asked for it. We instituted it and they didn’t pass.”

Miller said Kyle Busch’s car passed the same inspection before qualifying. Miller said more tolerance in the test is allowed following qualifying.

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“We give them some but they took a little more,” Miller said.

Jamie McMurray, who had the top speed in the second round, will start beside Kurt Busch on the front row, followed by Trevor Bayne and Ryan Newman.

Denny Hamlin, fresh off last week’s Daytona 500 win, was eliminated in the second round.

Before the post-qualifying inspection results were announced, Kurt Busch said Kyle “got us just by a little bit.”

“I know I was just a little bit tight out there on the race track,” said Kurt Busch, who said the brothers have a friendly rivalry.

“I’ll wave at him and he’ll wave at me and then we’ll go back to business,” said Kurt Busch. “It’s fun.”

Trevor Bayne and Ryan Newman will start third and fourth, respectively.

Denny Hamlin, fresh off last week’s Daytona 500 win, was eliminated in the second round.

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Rookie Chase Elliott, who won the pole in Daytona, was bumped from the top 24 in the final minute of the first round by another rookie, Ryan Blaney.

WHAT TO EXPECT: NASCAR’s new low-downforce package produced some struggles in practice and qualifying, along with many predictions of entertaining racing on Sunday.

“It’s going to be handfuls (of struggles) on Sunday for a lot of people,” Hamlin said.

Added Greg Biffle: “You can definitely tell the difference in downforce. The car is … over the racecourse a lot more. … I think it’s going to be a great race. It’s going to be a little slick on Sunday.”


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