By AMANDA VINCENT
Brad Keselowski claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole of 2015 and the 11th of his career on Friday with a 27.421-second/196.929 mph lap during the third and final round of qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500.
“This is a good start, but our goal is to be the fastest at the end of the race on Sunday,” Keselowski said. “It is a good start, and it gets us up front with a great pit stall, and hopefully, we can make the most of it. I am pumped about this race.”
Keselowski will share the front row with reigning Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick.
“It’s a great start for our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet team,” Harvick said. “The team did a great job. Pretty Much ran the same speed in all three rounds, there.”
Kyle Busch qualified third and, therefore, will share row two on Sunday’s starting grid with Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano.
Keselowski was fast throughout the three-round qualifying session, posting the fastest lap in each round. His first-round lap clocked in at 27.234 seconds/198.282 mph, the fastest lap turned for the entire session. His second-round lap of record was 27.348 seconds/197.455 mph.
Teammate, Logano, was second to Keselowski in each of the first two rounds before winding up fourth in round three.
With four of the remaining eight Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers sweeping the top-four spots on the starting grid, a total of five advanced to the final round for top-12 starting spots. Fellow-Chaser, Kurt Busch qualified seventh. The other three Chasers — Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. — qualified 13th, 18th and 23rd.
Meanwhile, Erik Jones, in a fill-in role for the suspended Matt Kenseth, qualified Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota in the sixth spot.
“Pretty good, I think,” Jones said. “We made good changes all through qualifying and getting our DeWalt Camry a little bit better throughout the night and through this session. The first session, I thought we were really good, and the second session, we lost a little bit, and then the third session, I thought we got it back pretty well. Sixth is a really good effort for us.”
Here’s the full starting grid for the AAA Texas 500:
Row 1 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 3 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Erik Jones (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 4 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 7 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Toyota)
Row 8 — David Ragan (No. 55 Toyota), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet), Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Brian Scott (No. 33 Chevrolet), Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 13 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 15 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Alex Bowman (Chevrolet), Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 9 Ford)
Row 17 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Ford), J.J. Yeley (No. 26 Toyota)
Row 18 — Brett Moffitt (No. 34 Ford), Landon Cassill (No. 40 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 20 — Cole Whitt (No. 35 Ford), Jeb Burton (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 21 — David Gilliland (No. 38 Ford), Ryan Preece (No. 98 Chevrolet)
Row 22 — Justin Allgaier (No. 51 Chevrole)
DNQ (did not qualify)P Joey Gase, Reed Sorenson
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