Matt Kenseth wins pole for Sunday's NASCAR race
It will be a Joe Gibbs Racing traffic jam at Kansas Speedway on Sunday.
Matt Kenseth claimed the pole on Friday for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Hollywood Casino 400 with a top qualifying lap of 192.089 mph in the No. 20 Toyota. He’ll be joined in the front row by teammate and reigning series champion Kyle Busch, who was a millisecond behind at 192.082 mph.
Sitting right behind them in the second row will be Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards of Columbia and Martin Truex Jr., whose Front Row Furniture Racing team has an affiliation with Gibbs. And, just for good measure, Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin qualified seventh.
Kenseth has won the pole three times at Kansas Speedway, and this was his first since 2013, when he won the spring race for his second consecutive victory at the track.
But it was Kenseth’s first pole of 2016, a season in which Joe Gibbs Racing won nine poles and 11 of the first 30 Sprint Cup races.
“You always want to qualify good,” said Kenseth, who is second in the standings going into the second race of round two in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. “There’s nobody’s in front of you (from the pole), and you have control of restarts. In the spring here, we had a really good car here, but I never got control of restarts and restarted second a lot.
“I could never get the lead. … So it’s an advantage to have control of that.”
Kenseth finished fourth in the spring race, which was won by Busch, who snapped a 16-race winless streak at Kansas Speedway.
Busch credited help from Kenseth for his newfound success at Kansas.
“This is a really good place for him,” said Busch, who is third in the Chase standings. “It’s arguably one of his best tracks. We’ve talked a little bit, and I certainly used some of the things we’ve talked about with all my teammates to get better here. I worked on how Matt carries his car on the track, and how he makes his speed and me trying to mimic what he does.
“Being able to win in the spring was a confidence booster for sure. There were a couple of guys who were fast with us in May, and I’m sure we’ll have to contend with them this time around as well.”
The last time Joe Gibbs Racing qualified 1-2-3 was last August at Bristol, when it was Busch, Hamlin and Kenseth.
“The year has been pretty solid for the organization,” Kenseth said. “It’s great having teammates who are that good. But it’s also hard to ever beat them.”