"I felt like we made a good adjustment from qualifying on our Miller Lite Dodge," said Busch, who was 20th-fastest in the abbreviated practice session, turning in a lap of 28.516 seconds (189.367 mph). "At the same time I felt like that's all we had. I don't know what we can tweak or what we can do a little different tomorrow, but we'll throw some wrenches at it and see what happens. A top 15 is about all we had for them tonight."
Light rain fell off and on all morning at L.M.S. and finally ceased just after 4:00 p.m. The Sprint Cup teams finally hit the track at 6:50 p.m. and practiced until 7:30 p.m. The Nationwide Series teams got track time until 9:00 p.m. and the Cup drivers finally started qualifying at 9:10 p.m.
During the brief practice session, current points leader and three-time consecutive champion Jimmie Johnson let the competition know that his No. 48 Hendrick Chevrolet team are the guys to beat here this weekend. Johnson turned in a lap of 28.054 seconds (192.486 mph) to pace the practice laps.
Johnson was the 11th driver to take to the track during the Coors Light Pole Award qualifying runs. His official lap of 28.070 seconds (192.376 mph) put up the numbers for all the remaining drivers to shoot at. Hendrick teammate Mark Martin, currently second in the Chase point standings, came closest but had to settle for the second starting spot with his lap of 28.152 seconds (191.816 mph).
Kasey Kahne (28.264 seconds/191.056 mph) picked up the third starting spot, with Matt Kenseth (28.339/190.550) fourth and Tony Stewart (28.351/190.469) fifth. Ryan Newman, Mike Bliss, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch rounded out tonight's top-10 qualifiers.
Positions 11 through 20, in order, went to Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, David Gilliland, Kurt Busch, Scott Speed, Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Robby Gordon and Jamie McMurray.
As for the remaining Chase drivers, Greg Biffle qualified 23rd, Carl Edwards 28th and Brian Vickers 30th. Busch's Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. (28.557 seconds/189.095 mph) took the 22nd starting spot, while teammate David Stremme (28.636 seconds/188.754 mph) qualified in the 27th position.
Friday's schedule here at Lowe's Motor Speedway calls for practice sessions from 5:00 p.m. till 5:45 p.m. and from 6:20 p.m. till 7:20 p.m. Saturday's NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America (334 laps/501 miles) has a scheduled 7:25 p.m. ET starting time, with ABC-TV and PRN Radio providing live coverage of all the action.