CONCORD – It can't go on forever.
Kyle Busch's NASCAR reign continued on Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where the 23-year-old phenomenon added the pole for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race to his growing list of accomplishments in the 2008 stock car season.
Busch's Midas touch has produced three Sprint Cup victories, three Nationwide Series wins and two wins in the Truck Series. That Truck total was pending the outcome of Friday night's race at this 1.5-mile track - Busch won the pole for that, too.
"I'm surprised," Busch said after turning in a time of 121.95 seconds for a three-lap run that included a four-tire pit stop. "I thought I got busted speeding there. If I wasn’t it was that close - very close. ... I almost messed it up."
Drivers had to slow to 45 mph entering pit road for the stop during their run, and like just about everything else he's done, Busch took that to the limit. But his pit entry was ruled legal and his Joe Gibbs Racing team pumped out a solid stop. Busch took it from there, firing the No. 18 Toyota back around the track for his a final lap to knock Jeff Gordon to the outside of the front row.
"That thing is humming this weekend," Busch said. "We just keep clicking them off and keep going. It's obviously paying off really, really well."
Busch has been in the all-star race the past two years, finishing 16th in 2006 and 20th last year after wrecking both times. But, then again, he had led only one lap in his career at Darlington Raceway before winning there a week ago.
Busch was the last of 21 cars to make a qualifying run, a fact that didn't hurt him a bit since the track was cooler and there was rubber built up on pit road because the other cars had already been in and out of the two stalls used for the stops.
But since Busch's run was more than eight tenths of a second faster than Gordon's next best run, that might not have mattered at all.
"We certainly knew that Kyle was going to be tough," Gordon said.
While Busch has won in everything he's been in this season, Gordon is still looking for his first win of the 2008 season. But Gordon has won the all-star race three times, and he's certainly no stranger to sustained periods of outstanding outcomes such as the one Busch is enjoying right now.
"It's a great feeling when momentum is on your side and the car is working and things are coming together," said Gordon, who last won this even in 2001.
"When it was like that for us, we preached to ourselves that ... it's about not allowing yourself to mess it up. I believe the same thing is the case for the 18 team.
"Kyle's aggressiveness sometimes it gets the best of him, but if he can manage it I don't think anybody can touch him as strong as he and his team are right now."
Gordon wasn't willing to declare Busch a prohibitive favorite to win Saturday night, however, pointing out that Carl Edwards' Ford was strong in practice. Edwards also has won three Cup races this year and has been particularly strong on tracks such as this.
But Edwards will start 19th in his No. 99 Ford after being penalized 20 seconds for being too fast entering pit road. Seven teams suffered time penalties during the qualifying session, including a disqualification for Jimmie Johnson's team after a crew member attached a dropped lug nut to the right-front tire with the No. 48 Chevrolet outside the pit box.
Kurt Busch will start third, right behind his brother. The Busch brothers were in a wreck with each other in last year's all-star race. Martin Truex Jr. starts fourth with Greg Biffle fifth.