CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kurt Busch won the pole for the NASCAR playoff race at the new “roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a hybrid of the road course and oval that has drivers concerned with the complexity of the circuit.
Busch, who is eighth in the playoff standings, will be joined by non-playoff contender A.J. Allmendinger on the front row Sunday.
The roval is unlike anything used before in NASCAR — a 17-turn, 2.28-mile course has a 35-foot change in elevation. Given that it’s an elimination race with 12 of 16 drivers advancing, it has the field even more on edge.
Denny Hamlin, one of four drivers on the outside looking in at the top 12 in the standings, wrecked earlier in qualifying and will start 27th. Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones — the other three outside the line — qualified in the top 12, with Johnson starting sixth.