Engine problem forces Kyle to back

Updated: February 27, 2009, 8:45 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- It was brotherly love, briefly, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch became the first brothers since 2000 to sweep the front row in qualifying for a NASCAR race, but Kyle Busch's blown motor will prevent the Las Vegas drivers from starting next to each other at their home track.

Kyle Busch blew a motor in his Toyota during Friday's practice session, changed the engine, then ran a pole-winning lap of 185.995 mph to knock his big brother off the pole. Kurt Busch ran a lap at 185.707 mph.

But under NASCAR rules, Kyle Busch will have to drop to the back of the field at the start of Sunday's race. Third-place qualifier Jimmie Johnson will slide onto the front row next to Kurt Busch during the warm-up laps.

Kyle Busch wasn't worried about having to drive to the front.

"Unfortunately for myself, I won't be in the cool photo next to my brother at the drop of the green flag," said Kyle Busch, who celebrated the pole-winning run by crashing a Victory Lane wedding ceremony between race fans and stepping in as the best man.

The 1-2 qualifying effort marked the first time brothers have swept the front row since Rusty and Kenny Wallace at Martinsville in 2000. Bobby and Terry Labonte also took the top two starts at the 1998 Daytona 500.

The motor change spoiled what would have undoubtedly been an intense fight to lead the first lap, so Kurt Busch wasn't bothered that Kyle will fall to the back of the field.

"It would have been great to go after it and see who would leave the first lap, but you can't get caught up in all that," Kurt Busch said.

David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose qualified fourth and fifth, but also had to change their motors after their laps and will drop to the back of the field. Brian Vickers, who won the pole last week at California but had to forfeit it because of an engine change, and his teammate Scott Speed also switched motors Friday.

In all, five Toyota teams switched motors Friday.

"I don't have any idea," Busch said of the rash of motor problems. Kyle Busch's motor is built by Joe Gibbs Racing, but the others all came from Toyota's factory in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Ryan Newman qualified sixth and was followed by Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart.

A total of 51 drivers entered the race, meaning 16 drivers were vying for the eight available spots in the field. Among those to make the race AJ Allmendinger -- a year after he missed the event for Red Bull Racing and was temporarily pulled from his ride the next week, Brad Keselowski and Regan Smith, last year's rookie of the year.

Missing the field was Jeremy Mayfield and Scott Riggs, who both raced their way into the Daytona 500 three weeks ago, as well as Travis Kvapil, Dave Blaney, Sterling Marlin and Tony Raines.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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