Hometown hero Kyle Busch's lap of 29.613 seconds proved fast enough to win the pole position for the 2008 edition of Las Vegas Motor Speedway's UAW-Dodge 400. The 22-year-old Busch, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, scored the third pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career during qualifying Friday afternoon under sunny skies.

"It was a good, steady lap for us today," Busch began. "We went out there in practice and we thought we had a pretty good car today. We tested well out here.  In qualifying, we got through Turns 3 and 4 pretty good to take the green flag.  I felt like I got a good run down the front straightaway and into Turn 1.  I drove it in there a little bit further than I wanted to, but it felt like it was going to stick and it was going to be the lap that I needed.  I put it wide open and hoped for the best."

A victory at his home track would be sweeter than the candy that sponsors his car.

"If we happen to win this thing this weekend, it would be pretty cool to come out of here after 400 miles to be over there in victory lane - that would be pretty special."

Busch came to Las Vegas on a hot streak: he currently leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings ahead of Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman and has a pair of fourth-place finishes in the first two races of the 2008 campaign. He also won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in California.  In six NASCAR races entered this season, he has earned six top-five finishes.

Carl Edwards, winner of last week's Sprint Cup Series contest in California, will share the front row with Busch.

Mark Martin, winner of the inaugural Las Vegas NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 1998, earned the third starting berth.

"I love this place," Martin admitted.  "This No. 8 team is just fun to work with and we are having a blast here. We are just having fun.

"We won that first race and those big ol' tall showgirls were up there (in victory lane). I remember that vividly. They're all in the pictures from that. I'll tell you. We won that first race and you know I never took a minute to think about or to enjoy any of that. All I could ever think about was, ‘How were we ever going to do this next week?' But we stayed a long time after because it was the inaugural race. There was a lot of press stuff afterwards. The place was cleared out quite a bit by the time I left by helicopter. I remember when the helicopter lifted up and I could see down, that's when I realized what I had accomplished.  I guess that's the memory that I have. Just for one second I realized what we accomplished. And it was a big accomplishment."

Two-time race winner Jeff Gordon will start fourth and a surprisingly-quick Mike Skinner - winner of the 2006 Smith's Las Vegas 350 - will lead the third row of the 43-car field.

Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified eighth.  His team's transporter led the NASCAR Hauler Parade up the famed Las Vegas Strip Thursday afternoon.

"We haven't qualified well yet, but we did turn a good lap for the time of day," said Earnhardt.  "Hopefully this week we will have some better luck.  We have a good car, we had a great test, we seem to still have the speed we had in the test and I am pretty happy about that. I'm just trying to get us a good starting spot so I am pretty happy about that. When you have a great team and a great car, you can overcome pretty much everything.

"On this track you can run two grooves and we will be able to pass a little bit easier here."

Las Vegas native and 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch qualified ninth.

Las Vegas resident Patrick Carpentier was the highest-qualifying Raybestos rookie-of-the-year contender in the field.  Despite a communications malfunction, the former open-wheel racer placed his Dodge squarely in the field in 12th place with an eyebrow-raising lap of 29.899 sec. at 180.608 mph.

"It was great," said Carpentier.  "I didn't have the radio - for some reason it wasn't working - and I didn't know if we made it or not. I did two laps as hard as I could because I didn't know if I was in or not.  I just kept going hard. We're finally starting the season (he failed to qualify at Daytona and California) and it's fantastic.  In the last three weeks I'll finally be able to sleep tonight."

Bobby Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorenson, Kasey Kahne, Sam Hornish and Carpentier were involved in single-car skirmishes with the speedway's retaining wall during practice on Friday.  No one was injured.

Four drivers failed to qualify for the UAW-Dodge 400: Johnny Sauter (who crashed during his time-trial run), A.J. Allmendinger, Joe Nemechek and John Andretti.