NASCAR Cup: Brad Keselowski on pole at Las Vegas
Brad Keselowski celebrates winning the pole for the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedwat on March 10, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Brad Keselowksi claimed his 13th-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole on Friday with a 27.881-second/193.680 mph lap during the third of three rounds of qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Kobalt 400. It’s his first pole at LVMS.
“We’re off to a good start, for sure, with the Miller Lite Ford,” Keselowski said. “It feels good to get an early-season pole to go with our win [the previous weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway]. With the way the segments play out and stages and all this stuff, you really need to start up front to have a shot at winning as you go down the line of those stages. This helps a ton, and I’m grateful for the speed we had in the Miller Lite Ford, and I’m ready for the race on Sunday. I love Vegas.”
After running the fastest lap in Friday practice, Martin Truex qualified second to share the front row with Keselowski for Sunday’s race.
“It was, definitely, good for us,” Truex said. “We’ve had a really good day at the race track. Started out today with it feeling good right off the trailer. We ended up quickest in first practice and felt like we had a good game plan going into qualifying. We felt the track would probably be a little bit faster, thought it would pick up more.”
Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
While Keselowski led the final round for the pole, Kyle Busch and Blaney were tops in the first two rounds of qualifying. Busch led the opening round with a 27.831-second/194.028 mph lap before wining up ninth in the final round.
Blaney’s 27.814-second/194.147 mph lap in the second round lap was the fastest, overall, of the qualifying session.
“I thought we made good improvements from practice, and that was nice,” Blaney said. “The first round, we weren’t great. The second round we got really good. They made good adjustments on that one. The third round, I thought we had it through one and two, and then, we got held up by traffic in three and four. I think we were close. We showed speed in our car.”
Other drivers advancing to the final round of qualifying, and therefore, claiming top-12 spots on the starting grid include Joey Logano in sixth, Kasey Kahne seventh, Erik Jones eighth, Jamie McMurray 10th, Daniel Suarez 11th and Chase Elliott in 12th.
Only 39 drivers/cars were on the entry list for the Kobalt 400, leaving the race one car shy of a full field.
Below, is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Row 1 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 2 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 3 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 4 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)
Row 5 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 11 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Austin Dillone (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Ford)
Row 14 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford)
Row 15 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 16 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 17 — Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet), Corey LaJoie (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 18 — Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Toyota), Derrike Cope (No. 55 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Timmy Hill (No. 51 Chevrolet)