"We haven't been running that well ever since we unloaded this morning," said Busch, who started 12th and finished 11th in this race last season, prior to the introduction of the COT cars this year. "We ran an 89 (31.896-second lap) in practice and we were fighting a really tight handling condition during our time out on the track.
"We made some adjustments between practice and qualifying and they just didn't change much," Busch added. "The car was just as tight out there on our qualifying lap.
"We have two session of practice here tomorrow to hopefully get it figured out. The thing about it is there are some really good teams starting back there with us or even behind us."
Juan Pablo Montoya was somewhat of a surprise pole-winner here today. After turning in the fourth-fastest practice lap, he backed it up with a fast lap of 31.368 seconds (172.150 mph) to grab the pole.
Jimmie Johnson (31.394 seconds/172.007 mph) will start second, with Mark Martin (31.438 seconds/171.767 mph) third, Matt Kenseth (31.456 seconds/171.668 mph) fourth and Elliott Sadler (31.482 seconds/171.527 mph) fifth.
Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers. Ryan Newman was the highest-qualifying Penske Racing driver here today, taking the 16th starting spot with a lap of 31.695 seconds (170.374 mph). Rookie Sam Hornish Jr. will start 26th after clocking in with a lap of 31.862 seconds (169.481 seconds).
Several of the Chase drivers will start behind Busch in Sunday's race as Carl Edwards was 35th on the speed chart, Kevin Harvick was 37th, Jeff Burton 38th and Tony Stewart 42nd.
Saturday's schedule here at Kansas offers practice sessions from 11:30 a.m. till 12; 15 p.m. and from 12:50 p.m. till 1:50 p.m. Sunday's Camping World RV 400 (267 Laps, 400.5 miles) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. CDT starting time and features live coverage by ABC-TV and MRN Radio.