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NASCAR Cup: Matt Kenseth on pole for All-Star Race

BRISTOL, TN – AUGUST 18: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DEWALT/Flexvolt Toyota, stands by his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 18, 2017 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After making his return to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing and Roush Fenway Racing last weekend at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City, Matt Kenseth put the No. 6 RFR Ford on the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway with a 127.644-secone effort during qualifying Friday evening.

“The car drove good,” Kenseth said. “It seemed fine. It was our first laps on the track today with all the rain and Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) was a huge help to me going out early and helping me with my braking in pit road and his spotter up there helping me. That was a big help to get us up there like that.”

Roush Fenway swept the front row, with Kenseth’s teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualifying second. Stenhouse’s No. 17 Ford team and Kenseth’s No. 6 were tops on pit road, posting the two fastest four-tire-change pit stops. Friday’s qualifying session was a non-traditional one, with one car going out at a time for three-lap runs, including pit stops, and the total time counting toward qualifying efforts.

“I saw that pothole and thought I would cut the corner as low as I could, and I got right past the wall and saw that pothole and I was wide open and I hit it,” Stenhouse said. “Yeah, that was not good on the equipment, but my guys did an awesome job. No penalties. That was big. Any time you do a format like this, being penalty free is good. I do think I could have gotten to pit road better. Right now, I am glad that we beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 2 (Brad Keselowski), because those cars were really good at doing this last year. Track position will be pretty key come tomorrow night.”

Ford took the top-four spots on the All-Star starting grid, with Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick qualifying third and fourth.

“My goal going into this was to not slide through the pit box, not spin out coming to pit road and shift in all the correct spots, and we did all that,” Harvick said. “We did all that pretty well and there was no catastrophe, and that was really our main goal tonight, so I am good with that and we will see what tomorrow brings.”

Not all pit crews performed as flawlessly on pit road as the two from Roush Fenway Racing. Joey Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske crew had a problem on the right-rear of the car. Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing pit crew was assessed a lug-nut penalty. The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Denny Hamlin was penalized for a tire violation. Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Stewart-Haas pit crew had a slow stop, and Kasey Kahne’s No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team suffered two lug-nut penalties after Kahne overshot his pit box and had difficulty getting his car backed up and into the box.

Kahne and company’s myriad of problems resulted in a qualifying effort of 17th and last.

Kahne wasn’t the only driver who struggled getting his car stopped int he proper position on pit road. Kyle Larson, the last driver to qualify, overshot the pit box by a long shot with his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing entry. Larson, as a result, wound up 16th, behind even most of the teams that were assessed penalties.

“Yeah, I had everybody to look at and see where they all were braking, and I thought I would go a little deeper than most,” Larson said. “I thought Jamie was braking about at the opening we were at, and that is where I went and it wasn’t even close to getting to the stall.”

Below, is the starting grid for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, minus the four cars added after Saturday evening’s Open and fan vote:
Row 1 — Matt Kenseth (No. 6 Ford), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 2 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford)
Row 3 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Ford)
Row 4 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 5 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 6 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 8 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Kasey Kahne (No. 95 Chevrolet)

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Posted by on May 19, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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