Kyle Busch tops brother Kurt to win pole in Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) Kyle Busch's car failed a post-qualifying inspection on Friday, leaving him at the back of the pack instead of on the pole 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.

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.

''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.

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.''

UNDER-40 CROWD: There are only 39 cars for the race. It's the lowest number for a Cup race since 37 competed at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1996, according to STATS.

Since NASCAR standardized the fields in 1998, it's only the third time all available slots are not filled.

MEMORY LANE: Kevin Harvick used his Twitter account to post a video of his first NASCAR win. He barely beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line in Atlanta in 2001. ''My 1st cup win and one of the best moments of my racing career,'' Harvick tweeted.

Harvick qualified seventh.

FEBRUARY SUN: The temperature was a little chilly at 50 degrees for the start of qualifying. The forecast for Sunday is ideal - especially for late February. The projected high is 65 degrees with no chance of rain.

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