Keselowski to begin on front row for 4th consecutive race
By: Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service on March 21, 2014
LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Matt Kenseth, left, poses for photos on Friday after capturing the pole for Sunday’;s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Fontana, Calif.
Matt Kenseth aced the check when it counted most, topping the pace chart in the third and decisive round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Friday at Automobile Club Speedway.
Touring the 2-mile track in 38.438 seconds (187.315 mph) Kenseth place his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the pole for Sunday’;s Auto Club 400, the fifth race of the 2014 Sprint Cup season.
Kenseth edged Brad Keselowski (187.105 mph for the top starting spot, but Keselowski will begin on the front row for his 4th consecutive race. Keselowski has competent both initial or second considering that the debut of knockout qualifying in the Cup series at Phoenix for the second race of the season.
Jimmie Johnson will start off third soon after a lap at 186.935 mph. Kevin Harvick (186.901 mph) certified 4th, followed by Clint Bowyer (186.461 mph) and Jeff Gordon (186.384 mph). Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, final week’;s Bristol winner Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, rookie Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. will begin in positions 7 by way of twelve following advancing to the last round.
Since of the track’;s abrasive surface, the prime speeds fell off for every of the 3 sessions. Harvick led 24 drivers in the 25-minute 1st round with a lap at 187.975 mph. Jeff Gordon paced the 10-minute second round at 187.515 mph ahead of Kenseth snagged the pole in the 5-minute ultimate.
Kenseth was quick in all 3 rounds, finishing 4th, 2nd and initial. His arc was decidedly different from that of Keselowski, who acquired speed in all 3 rounds and advanced from 18th to 10th to 2nd.
“We unloaded, and we had some really very good pace, and that translated to qualifying trim,” said Kenseth, who won his first Coors Light pole award of the season, his initial at Car Club Speedway and the 12th of his job. “[Crew chief] Jason [Ratcliff] did a really great job the last 2 weeks of generating great changes by means of the rounds and generating it how we essential it for the last a single.
“They gave me the car, and really, all I had to do was not mess it up.”
Keselowski was the last driver to make an try in the ultimate session but didn’;t feel the track had time to awesome substantially from the commence of the session. Rather, he attributed his enhanced speed to adjustments created by crew chief Paul Wolfe.
“We required all the time we could get to dial our vehicle in and make the adjustments we needed, and we barely had enough time to get it completed,” Keselowski stated.
Nevertheless, Keselowski understands the value of the front-row starting up spot.
“It took me all 3 shots to get in the top 10,” Keselowski said. “Fortunately, the final one was our best… Qualifying up front is constantly fun and always a fantastic start to the weekend, but there’;s much more to be accomplished in the race, so we’;ve got to hold that going as effectively.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. narrowly missed the cutoff for the final twelve and will start off 15th on Sunday. Bumped from the prime 24 late in the first session, Danica Patrick earned the 27th spot on the grid.
Subbing for driver Paul Menard, Matt Crafton was 30th fastest in the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Menard remained in North Carolina to invest time with his wife and newborn daughter Remi Barbara Christine Menard but will race at Fontana on Sunday, starting from the rear of the area due to the fact of the driver adjust.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Automobile Club 400
Automobile Club Speedway
Friday, March 21, 2014
one. (twenty) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 187.315 mph.
2. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 187.105 mph.
3. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 186.935 mph.
4. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 186.901 mph.
5. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 186.461 mph.
6. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 186.384 mph.
7. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 186.273 mph.
8. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 186.013 mph.
9. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 185.878 mph.
10. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 185.792 mph.
eleven. (42) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 185.773 mph.
12. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 185.725 mph.
13. (eleven) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 185.323 mph.
14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 185.314 mph.
15. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 185.290 mph.
16. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 185.209 mph.
17. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 185.166 mph.
18. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 184.715 mph.
19. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 184.521 mph.
twenty. (3) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 183.960 mph.
21. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 183.955 mph.
22. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 183.861 mph.
23. (6) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, 183.491 mph.
24. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 185.095 mph.
25. (one) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 184.525 mph.
26. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 184.322 mph.
27. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 184.299 mph.
28. (51) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, 183.983 mph.
29. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 183.922 mph.
30. (27) Matt Crafton(i), Chevrolet, 183.641 mph.
31. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 183.580 mph.
32. (30) Parker Kligerman #, Toyota, 182.918 mph.
33. (35) David Reutimann, Ford, 182.219 mph.
34. (26) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 181.525 mph.
35. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 181.507 mph.
36. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 181.365 mph.
37. (33) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, Owner Factors
38. (98) Josh Smart, Chevrolet, Owner Factors
39. (83) Ryan Truex #, Toyota, Owner Points
40. (23) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, Proprietor Points
41. (34) David Ragan, Ford, Proprietor Points
42. (66) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Owner Factors
43. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Proprietor Points
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