By AMANDA VINCENT
Matt Kenseth claimed his fourth pole of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Thursday with a 27.759-second/194.532 mph lap in the third and final round of qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Bank of America 500.
“It was a heck of a lap, and I knew it had a lot of speed,” Kenseth said. “Changed up (turns) one and two a little bit. I just got a little tight in the middle of three and four trying for it. I knew it was pretty fast. Our Dollar General Camry has been really fast all day.”
Kenseth will be joined on the front row by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and fellow-Chase for the Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch.
“Matt Kenseth, he’s way better than me; that’s for sure,” Busch said. “He got more out of it than I did tonight. Our Pink M&Ms Toyota Camry was awesome tonight.”
Twelve drivers remain in championship contention after the Oct. 4 AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, and five of those drivers qualified in the top-six, with Joey Logano taking third and Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch taking the fifth and sixth spots on the starting grid. Non-Chaser Greg Biffle qualified fourth.
Nine of the remaining 12 Chase drivers survived to the third round of qualifying to take top-12 starting spots, with Carl Edwards qualifying eighth, Ryan Newman 10th, Dover race winner and reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick 11th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 12th.
Remaining Chase drivers Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Jeff Gordon were unable to get out of round two and wound up with positions 13th, 15th and 22nd on the starting grid.
Here’s the complete starting grid for the Bank of America 500:
Row 1 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
Row 2 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 3 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota)
Row 5 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — MartinTruex Jr. (No. 78 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 9 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 9 Ford)
Row 10 — David Ragan (No. 55 Toyota), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet), Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Toyota), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Alex Bowman (No. 7 Chevrolet), Justin Allgaier (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — David Gilliland (No. 38 Ford), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Ford)
Row 17 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Landon Cassill (No. 40 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — J.J. Yeley (No. 26 Toyota), Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Brett Moffitt (No. 24 Ford), Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Cole Whitt (No. 35 Ford), Matt KiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 21 — Jeb Burton (No. 23 Toyota), Reed Sorenson (No. 98 Ford)
Row 22 — Alex Kennedy (No. 33 Chevrolet)
DNQ (did not qualify): Josh Wise, Timmy Hill
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