6:15 p.m. - Comments from Kyle and Kurt Busch, who qualified first and second, respectively, for Sunday's Shelby 427:
Kyle: "It's cool that we're both up there and qualified on the front row. Unfortunately, for myself, I won't be in the cool photo at the drop of the green flag next to my brother up there; we'll have to drop to the back of the field for the engine change. I've got to give great thanks to the team.
They did an awesome job here today with the M&M's Toyota to get a new TRD power plant in that car and get it prepared. It takes some guesstimation to what our teammates were doing and what the rest of the field was doing as far as qualifying and practice. We didn't get any laps in qualifying trim so we went out there and sailed a lap as fast as I thought I needed to go and fortunately it was fast enough so it's pretty cool."
Kurt: "For us, I feel like we're doing the same thing behind the scenes: just working hard and trying to find a good combination to make the car run through the bumps but yet still have the front end getting the grip that it needs. It felt like a solid run to me through (turns) 1 and 2. Looking at the lap tracker, he had a little bit better 1 and 2 and that enabled him to beat us just a little bit. I felt like Kyle did, where there were going to be plenty of other guys that were going to come up there and knock us off. It feels good to get the Miller Lite Dodge to be running good. We qualified fourth last week and second this week. It's been a long off-season of scratching our heads and trying to find a good direction and so far it's paid off."
Kyle: "I think the faster speeds here this year were through the Goodyear Tire Company. They came here and tested and brought a different tire here this time. They've got to be really conscious of a new racetrack. Last year the racetrack was brand new so we were really fighting the too much grip in the racetrack. They had to bring a hard tire ... and this year they could soften it up a little bit and bring back a better tire and hopefully it will (make) for better racing on Sunday. I feel like the biggest issue in why the speeds picked up was just through the tire. And we're getting smarter. Everybody now this year, it's been a full year since we've been here developing this new car and I feel like that has a lot to do with it probably, as well.
"I wish we were starting up front so maybe we could get five bonus points early but unfortunately that's not the case. We'll have to dial up through there and pass everybody if we can and get there eventually during the day and try and get five bonus points. We won't be able to take to try to win the most bonus points for leading the most laps. But the scenario is now different, we've just got to take what's been given to us and try to battle it out on Sunday. The big check (goes to) the leader after the last lap, not the first lap."
Kurt: (Is Las Vegas as big to you as Indy is to Tony Stewart?) "You could say that. This is our hometown. Kyle and I grew up watching this place being built, grew up watching races here. It helped jump-start our careers so this place will always hold a special spot in my heart. It's definitely just as prestigious for the Busch brothers here in Vegas as it would be for Tony in Indy, for sure."
5:07 p.m. - Las Vegas natives Kyle and Kurt Busch qualified 1-2 for Sunday's Shelby 427 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the pair won't lead the field to the green flag Sunday because Kyle Busch's crew had to change the engine in his No. 18 Toyota prior to qualifying. He will start Sunday's race from the back of the field.
Kyle took the pole with a track-record lap of 185.995 mph. Kurt was second at 185.707. Jimmie Johnson, David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five. Defending race winner Carl Edwards qualified 16th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 31st and Matt Kenseth, winner of the first two races this season, will start 41st.
Stay tuned for comments from today's top qualifiers.
4:35 p.m. - Elliott Sadler, who comes into Sunday's Shelby 427, talks about the approach his No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger team took coming into Las Vegas: "We showed up today as (if it was) a test session. We really had to run through some front-end geometry stuff and tire stuff because we weren't able to come here and test in January. I'm not saying that the no testing deal is bad; I think it's still great for the sport. But when we struggled at the end of last season and at California (last week), we came (to the track) today not worried about how fast we're going to run or how we're going to qualify, we did a test session running through different things that my guys can run on the simulation stuff tonight back at the hotel and maybe get idea on how we start tomorrow.
"It's hard for me to say where we're at compared to last year. We know we're not where we need to be to win a race on a mile-and-a-half yet as compared to California. We had to show up and test through some things today to try and get a direction. We might have to do it again during the first practice again tomorrow and maybe at Atlanta on Friday until we hit up on something that we feel is very comfortable, very fast and that we'll be competitive on Sunday."
4 p.m. - Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Las Vegas Motor Speedway and six other NASCAR tracks, is teaming with NASCAR drivers to bring fans closer to their favorite driver through a series of fan forums at each of the 13 Sprint Cup Series races at SMI tracks.
Beginning with this weekend's race at LVMS, Performance Racing Network's on-air personalities will emcee question-and-answer sessions with the sport's biggest personalities at the SPEED Stage at each SMI track. The new "PRN Up to Speed" program kicks off Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the SPEED Stage in the LVMS midway. This weekend's lineup includes drivers Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon and team owner Richard Childress.
"I thought it was awesome," Gordon said of the announcement, which was made Friday in the track's fan-friendly Neon Garage. "They do such a great job here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway of taking care of the fans. I think that we definitely have to do all that we can to show them how much we appreciate them.
"Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the first one to step up and really do something and what I'm really excited about is they worked with the drivers on how it's going to impact their schedule and how we can do it to where it's fun, exciting, doesn't impact our focus on race day and really allows the fans to have a great experience."
3:30 p.m. - Las Vegas is Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s kind of town. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports said he was impressed with the number of fans who turned out on Friday for practice and qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"Obviously we appreciate it a lot for anybody that comes out and watches either in person or on television," he said. "We've got a lot of people in the stands today. This is a good market and I feel like we can be successful here -not only for the people who are local but having a race in a town like Vegas brings in a lot of people from outside, too.
"It makes for a great trip - you come to Vegas for three or four days and then you see a race, too. It's something Fontana and a couple other tracks on the circuit don't have. I don't think Vegas is going to have too hard a time selling tickets. I think this place is pretty popular." Earnhardt drew the 23rd position for qualifying, which began at 3:40 p.m.
1:45 p.m. - Mark Martin, who won the inaugural Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1998, was fastest in today's practice for Sunday's Shelby 427 Sprint Cup Series race. Martin's lap of 184.313 mph in the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/Carquest Chevy was considerably faster than last year's pole-winning lap of 182.352 by Kyle Busch.
David Reutimann was second fastest at 184.181 in the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota and David Stremme was third at 183.849 in the No. 12 Penske Dodge. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Kurt Busch was sixth fastest; Kyle Busch spent most of the time in the garage with his No. 18 Toyota and turned only four laps; defending race winner Carl Edwards was 13th on the speed chart; and Matt Kenseth, who won the first two races of the season, was 26th.
Qualifying for the Shelby 427 will begin at 3:40 p.m. (PST). Final practice for Saturday's Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 is underway.
1:15 p.m. - Although his name has been brought up in conjunction with a new U.S. Formula One team that is being put together, Kyle Busch said he is not looking to jump from NASCAR to F1 with the startup team. But Busch, 23, didn't rule out the possibility of going overseas in the future to race if the circumstances were right.
"If I could win a championship here in the next two or three years, then I wouldn't mind going over there and doing that, trying it for a few years and coming back," Busch said Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I think I'd still be young enough that if I could win a championship by 25, go run Formula One for a few years, be back by 28 (and) I'd still have plenty of time left to run in NASCAR.
"But a lot of things would have to work out for that to happen and you'd have to be guaranteed a spot with a team to come back with. That's not always possible."
12:15 p.m. - Brendan Gaughan, a Las Vegas native who probably has turned more laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway than any other driver, led the first Nationwide Series practice session with a lap of 177.497 mph. Kevin Harvick was second fastest at 177.247 and Greg Biffle was third at 176.869. The smoke coming from the car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the first lap of practice was the result of an oil leak as opposed to a blown engine. He got back on track late in the session and was 10th fastest in the session.
11:29 a.m. - The morning got off to a rough start for two Sprint Cup Series drivers who are competing in Saturday's Sam's Town 200 Nationwide Series race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew an engine in his No. 5 Go Daddy Chevrolet on his first lap of practice and Greg Biffle tagged the wall and damaged his No. 16 citifinancial Ford. With about half an hour left in the session, both drivers are back on the track and Biffle is atop the speed chart with a lap of 176.869 mph.
10:36 a.m. - Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the sun is shining and the temperature is about 64 degrees as the first NASCAR Nationwide Series cars hit the track for practice. Carl Edwards, Steve Wallace and Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan were among the first cars on the track this morning.
No fewer than 15 Sprint Cup drivers are scheduled to come through the LVMS media center today for interview sessions, including Edwards, the defending Sprint Cup race winner at LVMS, and local favorites Kurt and Kyle Busch. Check back here often, as we'll be updating this blog throughout the day with news, stats and plenty of driver interviews.