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Kenseth Claims Pole for Final Race of 2013

Kenseth Claims Pole for Final Race of 2013

by November 15, 2013 0 comments

Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR

HOMESTEAD, Fla — Matt Kenseth will start Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway from the pole. Kenseth was the fastest of the three mathematically eligible drivers on Friday qualifying.

Kenseth would tour the mile and a half oval in south Florida in 30.394 seconds or 177.667 miles an hour. It is Kenseth’s third pole of the season but first since Richmond back in April.

“All we can do is control the (number) 20,” Kenseth said. “My team did a wonderful job of that today. The car was way better than I was all day, so I could give it a decent lap and get some of the speed out of the car.

“I think that’s a start of it. Even though this is a really great track — it’s really, really wide with a lot of grooves, you can really pass — it’s [still] hard to pass these days, and track position’s really important. We can’t really control what they do. They don’t usually run 23rd or 24th without any problem.

“So, really, I just think we concentrate 100 percent on the 20, try to do everything we can to go out there and run up front, hopefully have a shot to win the race, finish as high as we can, so if they do have any kind of problem, we’re there to capitalize on that.”

Kenseth is 28 points behind championship leader, Jimmie Johnson. Johnson qualified seventh, the worst of the three mathematically eligible drivers in the Chase for the Championship.

“I think my line selection was real good, maybe just a little it off on balance, but still a solid performance. Should be in the top ten, which is what our goal is with the 48 car, one of the best in qualifying each and every week. We’ll take this. It looks like we’re at least fifth, hopefully still there and go racing on Sunday.” Johnson said

Johnson will go for his sixth championship in eight seasons on Sunday afternoon. While Johnson has never won at the Florida track, he does have two second places finishes and seven top-10 finishes in 12 starts.

With a 28 point lead heading into the final race of the season, Johnson says his position is a great spot to be in. But it’s not guaranteed he’ll win the championship on Sunday.

“It’s a great positing to be in. There’s no doubt about it. I think back to the old points system, what that number would equal, that’s a big number, so — it’s nice, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. I have to run all 400 miles on Sunday and that’s really the goal for this Lowe’s car.”

Kevin Harvick comes to Homestead with the longest odds of all three drivers. He’s third, 34 points out of the lead, but more importantly he’ll have to jump Kenseth to have a shot at Johnson. Harvick will start Sunday’s 400 mile race from the sixth position.

“Our Budweiser guys have done a great job. Everybody at RCR has done a great job preparing the car for this week. I argued with myself for an hour or two there, before that qualifying session, as to where I was going to run and we wound up — I thought I needed to run the bottom in three and four; just too loose on both ends to squeeze the throttle like I needed to, but all-in-all it was a good lap.” Harvick said.

Kurt Busch put his Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet on the outside pole with a lap of 30.432 seconds. While Sunday is Busch’s final race with the Denver, Colorado based team, he’s excited about closing out what has been a successful 2013 season.

Joey Logano will rolls of third on Sunday in the final race of the 2013 season. Reining Sprint Cup champ, Brad Keselowski will start fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth.

Chris Owens
For years, Chris has been traveling the country shooting photos capturing some of the sport's most unique moments and writing articles about grassroots racing and the NASCAR. Chris is the track photographer for Dillon Motor Speedway, and he has created websites for regional racing media outlets as well as for a few clients in the various traveling Late Model divisions. He also created a website for NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, Danny Efland.

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