Kyle Busch wins Lilly Diabetes 250 and the pole for the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 23, 2016 – On a hot day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, no one was hotter than Kyle Busch. A winner a year ago at NASCAR’s spotlight midsummer event, Busch will start his title defense from the pole for Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Warrior Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.
Busch posted a speed of 184.634 mph in the third round of NASCAR Sprint Cup knockout qualifying in the No. 18 Skittles Toyota, topping 2014 pole winner and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards by .023 seconds.
Later on Saturday, Busch defended his title at the Lilly Diabetes 250 with a dominant win in his No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, leading 62 of 63 laps in a green-white-checkered finish. He also led all 20 laps in his heat race.
“Overall, man, just a great day,” Busch said. “It’s fun to run here and get some more experience for tomorrow. I feel like this car’s really helped me in the last few years at being able to excel here at the Brickyard and I’m looking forward to what we’ve got for them tomorrow.”
In 11 previous Brickyard Cup starts, Busch had never qualified better than seventh. Now, the 31-year-old Las Vegas native will start from the pole as he tries to score Toyota’s second consecutive win in the event after it had never won before at Indy.
“I remember the days when I didn’t have such good cars here,” Busch said after winning his 19th career Sprint Cup pole and second of the season. “But we’ve been doing a good job of working hard, keeping our head down and doing what we need to be doing and focusing on our own thing.”
Denny Hamlin qualified fourth in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three of the top four spots. Tony Stewart, making his final IMS start, broke up the Gibbs party by qualifying third in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevrolet.
“I feel like we left the pole out there, and I think the guys who were ahead of us felt the same way, thought they could do something a little better on their lap,” Stewart said. “But a top-three starting spot here is … I’ll live with that, for sure.”
Brad Keselowski qualified fifth, the only Ford in the top 12. Jeff Gordon will start 21st in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“We’ve got some work to do and I’m looking forward to the challenge tomorrow,” said Gordon, a five-time Indy winner. “Today, I felt more relaxed and comfortable in the car. I hopefully will feel the same way tomorrow. Tomorrow’s challenge is going to be around traffic, and also getting the balance of the car right, and do that when you’re by yourself as well as when you’re around other cars.”
The green flag for the 23rd Running of the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled for 3:19 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are now on sale for the Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard and the Red Bull Air Race. Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:
Online: Visit www.ims.com/tickets. Tickets are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Phone: Call 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
In Person: Visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building east of the 16th Street roundabout and outside Turn 1 of the oval between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.
Information on parking and camping at IMS events is available at www.ims.com/tickets.