Matt Kenseth Captures First Pole of 2016; Joe Gibbs Racing Sweeps The Front Row In Kansasby Hunter Thomas October 14, 2016 0 comments
KANSAS CITY, K.S. – Matt Kenseth captured his first pole of the season on Friday during Coors Light Pole Qualifying at Kansas Speedway.
Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 DEWALT FLEXVOLT Toyota Camry clocked a lap of 28.112 seconds at 192.089 mph in the third and final round of qualifying to earn the pole for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was fastest in Round 1 and second to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch in Round 2. The pole is only the 18th of his career; however, Kenseth now has three poles at the track.
“It’s nice to get a pole,” Kenseth said. “I feel like our qualifying hasn’t been nearly as good this year as it has been in the rest of the years I’ve been at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). We barely got it – it was by a thousandth, or something like that. Obviously our Camrys have been fast. Our DEWALT FLEXVOLT Camry has been driving good and all the right adjustments. Round one we were pretty decent, it was off a little bit and then round three it was just right. We almost got beat, but it was as good of a lap as we were going to run. They did a good job today.”
Coming up short by a mere 0.068 seconds was Kyle Busch, who will start second on Sunday. Busch has 22 top-10 starts this season. He has started within the top-10 in half of the races that he has competed in at Kansas Speedway. The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry was fastest in the lone practice session on Friday. In qualifying, Busch was second fastest in Round 1 and fastest in Round 2. Busch won the GoBowling.com 400 at Kansas Speedway back in May.
“I’m running well here the last couple of times, in the Fall I think we’ve had top-five finishes and being able to win here in the Spring was definitely a confidence booster and being able to understand and know that I can do it,” Busch said. “There were a couple of guys that were fast in May that I’m sure we’ll have to contend with this time around. It’s just a testament to Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota to be able to do what we’ve done and have three of them Joe Gibbs in the front three spots and then Martin Truex there in fourth, that was really good.”
Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top-three positions on Friday with Carl Edwards running the third fastest lap in the final round of qualifying. Edwards has an impressive 25 top-10 starts in 31 races in 2016. He has nine top-10 starts at Kansas Speedway. The driver of the No. 19 XFINITY Toyota Camry was third fastest in opening practice as well. Edwards clocked the fourth fastest lap in Round 1 of qualifying and the 10th fastest lap in Round 2.
“Well the driver really messed them up,” Edwards said. “I had to run an extra lap because I screwed up the first one and they turned a lot of bolts, air pressure adjustments and that last lap went as perfect as it could go. I know it’s not the pole – we have plenty of those this year, but I’m really proud of the effort, I think my guys did a really good job not quitting and getting a good starting spot for us.”
Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman will start fourth and fifth respectively. Completing the top-10 of Sunday’s starting lineup is Joey Logano, along with Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger.
The Hollywood Casino 400 will broadcast live on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2:15 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images