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Kyle Busch earns his second consecutive NASCAR Cup pole with fastest lap at Pocono

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NASCAR driver Kyle Busch leads Ryan Blaney through Turn 3 during qualifying Friday at Pocono Raceway for the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

Kyle Busch turned a lap of 179.151 mph on Friday to win the pole at Pocono Raceway for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race on Sunday.

Busch won the pole at Dover International Speedway last week as well. His run at Dover was derailed when a tire came off the No. 18 Toyota during a pit stop.

Busch crew chief Adams Stevens, tire carrier Kenny Barber and tire changer Jake Seminara were suspended four races for the infraction and will not be at Pocono. He won races at every active Cup track except Pocono and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Race engineer Ben Beshore is the interim crew chief.

Martin Truex Jr. starts second and Matt Kenseth third for a 1-2-3 start for Toyota. Ryan Blaney was fourth, followed by Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski, all Ford drivers. Darrell Wallace Jr. starts 16th in the No. 43 Ford. He’s the first black driver in a Cup race since 2006.

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“I think it just shows Adam Stevens is able to prepare his team, prepare his cars,” Busch said. “You’ve got to have good personnel and Adam chooses all that. Joe gives us all the right tools we need in order to be successful.”

This might be a theme at Pocono — big brother Kurt Busch won this race last year with his crew chief serving a one-race suspension.

Darrell Wallace Jr. starts 16th in the No. 43 Ford and will become the first black driver in a Cup race since 2006. Wallace is filling in for injured driver Aric Almirola at Richard Petty Motorsports. Petty, who won 200 NASCAR races, stood by Wallace and offered encouragement.

“Hopefully, RP likes it,” Wallace said. “The King is over there smiling, I hope, maybe a little grin. A little fist bump like he gave me earlier would be good.”

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Kyle Busch has had plenty of good days at all the Cup tracks. The 2015 series champion has 38 career Cup wins and has won at every track — except Pocono and Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has just four top-five finishes at 24 career Pocono races and was 31st and ninth in the two races here last year.

Busch will go for his first checkered flag with a backup crew.

Kimball earns first IndyCar pole

Charlie Kimball has earned his first IndyCar Series pole with a two-lap average speed of 222.556 mph at the repaved and reconfigured Texas Motor Speedway.

Kimball’s run Friday was more than 3 mph faster than the previous the two-lap qualifying record at Texas. Will Power averaged 219.182 mph four years ago. Kimball’s first pole comes in his 109th career start.

Series points leader Scott Dixon will start on the front row Saturday night alongside his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate. Dixon’s qualifying average was 222.516 mph.

Alexander Rossi qualified third, ahead of Tony Kanaan and Tristan Vautier, who is filling in for injured Sebastien Bourdais. Graham Rahal, the defending Texas winner who last weekend won both races in Detroit, will start 11th at the 1 1/2-mile Texas track.

Raikkonen turns fastest F1 lap

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Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari had the fastest time in Friday’s second practice at the Canadian Grand Prix. Raikkonen completed the completed the 4.361 kilometer (2.71 mile) lap at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1 minute, 12.935 seconds.

That was two-tenths of a second faster than Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which was fastest in the morning session. Sebastien Vettel in the other Ferrari was third, with Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas fourth.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso got on the track late after problems in the morning session. He managed to grab seventh. Montreal native Lance Stroll was 17th in his first Formula One race on his hometown track.


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