Matt Kenseth Tops Joe Gibbs Racing Teammates For Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 Pole

Matt Kenseth Tops Joe Gibbs Racing Teammates For Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 Pole

by August 14, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry will start just in front of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards in the Pure Michigan 400 after claiming the Coors Light Pole Award on Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

Kenseth’s pole run was a lap of 36.458 seconds at 197.488 mph, and Friday’s efforts allowed him to tie Class of 2014 NASCAR Hall of Famer, Dale Jarrett and 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Curtis Turner for the 45th spot on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series poles list. All three drivers have 16 poles each. Kenseth has three poles this season, but Friday’s marks his first at the speedway.

“Jason (crew chief, Ratcliff) and these guys did a great job with our Dollar General Camry,” Kenseth said. “We definitely didn’t have the speed in practice and they made some great changes for qualifying there and got a couple good laps. I messed up turn four a little bit on that last lap, but we just had such incredible speed the rest of the lap that we were able to overcome that and get it.”

Starting second in the No.11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin. So far this season, Hamlin has 10 top-10 starts. At Michigan International Speedway, Hamlin has nine top-10 starts out of the 20 races he has competed in. During the first practice session this weekend, Hamlin was fifth fastest.

“Our FedEx Camry was great,” Hamlin said. “I’m really happy with JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), we have fast cars and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) has really stepped up and given us some great horsepower this last year. I’m really proud of the effort. I wish I could say I could hold it a little bit more, but obviously with all of our cars up there in the top-six, it’s pretty much a sign that our organization is turning into something right now.”

Carl Edwards will start third on Sunday afternoon. He has 13 top-10 starts this season and six at the speedway. Back in June, Edwards started fourth and finished 12th, so the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry team is looking for a stronger run this weekend. Edwards led the way in first practice this weekend.

“Our car is very fast and I’m really proud of all the guys at the shop,” Edwards said. “We’ve been able to be fast with multiple packages. I didn’t expect for all of us to be this stout here. It is just qualifying and I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen in the race. There’s a lot of disturbed air because of the device that they have on these cars. I don’t think anyone knows how they’re going to race in a big group.”

Austin Dillon and Tony Stewart will start fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the top-10 is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, followed by Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and last weekend’s Watkins Glen International winner, Joey Logano.

The Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2:30 p.m. ET, Sunday afternoon.

Pure Michigan 400 Starting Lineup:

1.) #20 Matt Kenseth

2.) #11 Denny Hamlin

3.) #19 Carl Edwards

4.) #3 Austin Dillon

5.) #14 Tony Stewart

6.) #18 Kyle Busch

7.) #4 Kevin Harvick

8.) #48 Jimmie Johnson

9.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

10.) #22 Joey Logano

11.) #5 Kasey Kahne

12.) #15 Clint Bowyer

13.) #55 David Ragan

14.) #2 Brad Keselowski

15.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.

16.) #41 Kurt Busch

17.) #31 Ryan Newman

18.) #1 Jamie McMurray

19.) #21 Ryan Blaney

20.) #16 Greg Biffle

21.) #24 Jeff Gordon

22.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.

23.) #10 Danica Patrick

24.) #27 Paul Menard

25.) #6 Trevor Bayne

26.) #47 AJ Allmendinger

27.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

28.) #51 Justin Allgaier

29.) #26 Jeb Burton

30.) #43 Aric Almirola

31.) #40 Landon Cassill

32.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto

33.) #7 Alex Bowman

34.) #42 Kyle Larson

35.) #35 Cole Whitt

36.) #38 David Gilliland

37.) #23 JJ Yeley

38.) #34 Brett Moffitt

39.) #46 Michael Annett

40.) #13 Casey Mears

41.) #32 Josh Wise

42.) #33 Travis Kvapil

43.) #98 Timmy Hill

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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