Kenseth edges teammate Busch for Kansas pole
Send a link to a friend
[October 15, 2016]
By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- To learn how to
master the track that continued to jinx him, Kyle Busch paid close
attention to the way Matt Kenseth drove Kansas Speedway.
Though Kenseth was helpful, he apparently kept a thousandth of a
second in his pocket. That was the margin by which Kenseth edged
Busch in Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying
session at the 1.5-mile track.
Touring Kansas in 28.112 seconds (192.089 mph) to Busch's 28.113
seconds (192.082 mph), Kenseth earned the top starting spot for
Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (at 2:15 p.m. ET on NBC), the fifth
race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the second race in
the Chase's Round of 12.
"Smoked him!" chortled Kenseth, as Busch emerged from the radio room
after an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "Smoked him!"
The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth's first of the season, his
third at Kansas and the 18th of his career. With Busch claiming the
second spot on the grid and teammate Carl Edwards (191.015 mph)
qualifying third, JGR cars will start 1-2-3 for the first time since
August at Bristol.
"It's nice to get a pole," Kenseth said. "I feel like our qualifying
hasn't been nearly as good this year as it has been in the rest of
the years I've been at JGR. We barely got it -- it was by a
thousandth, or something like that.
"Obviously, our Camrys have been fast... Round one we were pretty
decent--it was off a little bit--and then round three it was just
right. We almost got beat, but it was as good of a lap as we were
going to run. They did a good job today."
Kenseth joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. Busch didn't get his first
top five at Kansas until the spring race of 2015, which started a
run of third, fifth and first in consecutive events at a track where
his average finish is 19.2.
Busch's second-place qualifying run on Friday was his best so far at
the 1.5-mile track, and he freely acknowledged learning from
"We've talked a little bit, and I've certainly used some of the
things that we've talked about with all of my teammates in order to
get better here," Busch told the NASCAR Wire Service. "Just looking
and studying about technique and things that he does and being able
to work on how Matt carries his car around the track and where he
makes his speed and me trying to be able to do the same thing.
"A lot of it has just come through technique and just being able to
mimic the things that he does, and we've gotten a lot better at
that. Certainly, our balance could have been a tick better in order
to give me a little more security and feeling in order to go out
there and run two thousandths faster."
Chase driver Martin Truex Jr. made it a quartet of Toyotas on the
front two rows with a fourth-place qualifying effort at 190.786 mph.
Alex Bowman was the only non-Chase driver to crack the top five,
turning in a lap at 190.315 mph.
Of the five drivers who finished 30th or worse last Sunday at
Charlotte and put their advancement to the Chase's Round of 8 in
jeopardy, Joey Logano had the best recovery, qualifying sixth.
"That's better than where we have been," Logano said. "We qualified
14th here the last two times we've come here. We made a serious
effort at changing some things here with the way we qualified to
start closer to the front which is important.
"That's kind of where we were. We were about a sixth-place car
today, and we need to find a little more, but we made progress."
Denny Hamlin, 30th at Charlotte and the eighth-place Chase driver
entering Sunday's race, will start seventh. Kevin Harvick and Austin
Dillon, both currently below the Round of 8 cutoff, qualified 11th
and 12th, respectively.
Chase Elliott, victim of a late wreck and resulting 33rd-place
finish last Sunday, failed to make the final round on Friday and
will start 13th. Two other Chase drivers qualified outside the top
12: Kurt Busch (15th) and Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson (19th).
"From Round 1 to Round 2, the car was much tighter," said Johnson,
who was 10th in the first round. "We attempted to free it up, but
I'm not sure some of those adjustments didn't change the ride height
of the car and affected the splitter orientation with the ground.
So, maybe we were on the splitter a little bit.
"But a ton tighter than what we had in the opening round. But, other
than that, our car was repeating very well earlier in the day so
kind of leaning that way. I don't know if it is good or bad, but I'm
not accustomed to qualifying well all the time. I'm used to racing
through traffic. I'm not worried about this; we'll just get that
Lowe's Chevy up there."
[to top of second column]
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying -- Hollywood Casino 400
1. (20) Matt Kenseth (C), Toyota, 192.089 mph.
2. (18) Kyle Busch (C), Toyota, 192.082 mph.
3. (19) Carl Edwards (C), Toyota, 191.015 mph.
4. (78) Martin Truex Jr. (C), Toyota, 190.786 mph.
5. (88) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 190.315 mph.
6. (22) Joey Logano (C), Ford, 190.221 mph.
7. (11) Denny Hamlin (C), Toyota, 190.188 mph.
8. (2) Brad Keselowski (C), Ford, 190.087 mph.
9. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 189.927 mph.
10. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 189.840 mph.
11. (4) Kevin Harvick (C), Chevrolet, 189.580 mph.
12. (3) Austin Dillon (C), Chevrolet, 189.567 mph.
13. (24) Chase Elliott # (C), Chevrolet, 189.954 mph.
14. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 189.940 mph.
15. (41) Kurt Busch (C), Chevrolet, 189.773 mph.
16. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 189.760 mph.
17. (21) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 189.540 mph.
18. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 189.387 mph.
19. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 189.241 mph.
20. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 189.201 mph.
21. (48) Jimmie Johnson (C), Chevrolet, 188.976 mph.
22. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 188.930 mph.
23. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 188.094 mph.
24. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 186.034 mph.
25. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 188.376 mph.
26. (7) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 187.669 mph.
27. (83) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 187.578 mph.
28. (23) David Ragan, Toyota, 187.513 mph.
29. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 187.441 mph.
30. (34) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 187.331 mph.
31. (15) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 187.246 mph.
32. (44) Brian Scott #, Ford, 186.819 mph.
33. (95) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 186.419 mph.
34. (38) Landon Cassill, Ford, 185.052 mph.
35. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 184.824 mph.
36. (55) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 183.163 mph.
37. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 181.898 mph.
38. (32) Joey Gase(i), Ford, 180.560 mph.
39. (98) Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 180.403 mph.
40. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 179.850 mph.
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.