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NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney gets first pole at Kansas

Ryan Blaney wins a pole at Kansas Speedway on May 12, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Ryan Blaney wins a pole at Kansas Speedway on May 12, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Ryan Blaney’s 28.481-second/189.600 mph lap in the third and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on Friday for Saturday night’s GoBowling.com 400 was good enough to garner the driver his first-career Cup Series pole.
“I didn’t know during the first two rounds if we would have enough,” Blaney said. “The 18 (Kyle Busch) and 4 (Kevin Harvick) were really fast. We got our car better and better each round, and that is what you want. That is what we did. We have improved a lot on that this year. Last year, I always thought we kind of got worse, if anything. This year has been a step up in qualifying. Your car and track changes, and you have to be on top of that. Everyone has done a great job of staying on top of that. We have been really close a couple times this year, but it feels good to get it done. I know it is only qualifying, but it feels really cool to get this first pole. It says a lot about this entire team.”
Busch was fastest in the first two rounds, and his 28.331-second/190.604 mph lap in the second round was the fastest lap, overall, of the qualifying session. In the final round, though, he wound up fifth.
“Expectations are to win,” Busch said. “That’s what we come to the races for. We were fine all the way up until that last session. Missed it a little bit on our adjustments, but other than that, looking forward to tomorrow.”
Ford swept the front row, with Joey Logano starting second, alongside Blaney.
“I can think of a couple spots when I dissect it where we could have had more speed,” Logano said. “Congratulations to Blaney; that is cool. Your first pole is a big deal. It is a big deal for him. I just hate being second. I have to be honest. Man, I just think a little off of two and a little off of four. Those ones always sting; believe me. On the other side of it, we weren’t really in contention for a pole after practice. We made some good adjustments. The greedy side of me wants the pole so bad, but the realistic side says we made huge improvements from practice, so I am proud of that.”
Ford and Toyota took all the top-five spots on the starting grid, with Martin Truex Jr. qualifying third and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fourth. Kyle Larson was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet driver in ninth.
Getting through pre-qualifying inspection, once again, was a problem at Kansas Speedway, as 12 drivers failed to make a lap in qualifying as a result of difficulties getting through inspection. Those drivers included Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Erik Jones, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Ragan, Michael McDowell, Landon Cassill, Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie, Timmy Hill and Carl Long.
“This is just, wow, super disappointing,” Bowyer said. “You are off then-thousandths of an inch; it is ridiculous. Most people can’t even understand how little that is. I get it; if you are off, you are off, but I watched my guys move the car and adjust the car, accordingly, for it, and then, actually overcompensate on it, because we were worried about not making it. Then, they wheel it back in and fail the exact same amount, twice? That makes no sense, none.”
Below, is the complete starting grid for Saturday night’s GoBowling.com 400 at Kansas Speedway:
Row 1 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 2 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 3 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford)
Row 4 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford)
Row 5 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 8 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 9 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Christ Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford)
Row 13 — Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota), Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet), Derrike Cope (No. 55 Toyota)
Row 15 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 16 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)
Row 17 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), David ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 18 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford)
Row 19 — Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Chevrolet), Corey LaJoie (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 20 — Timmy Hill (No. 51 Chevrolet), Carl Long (No. 66 Chevrolet)
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on May 13, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,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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