Matt Kenseth's stock joke used to be how poorly he qualified the No. 17 Roush Ford week-in and week-out. Kenseth will have to come up with a new routine as he earned his second pole of the season at Kansas Speedway and the third of his ...
Matt Kenseth's stock joke used to be how poorly he qualified the No. 17 Roush Ford week-in and week-out. Kenseth will have to come up with a new routine as he earned his second pole of the season at Kansas Speedway and the third of his career.
"That was a great lap," said Kenseth. "We have a great car in race trim just a bonus that it was this fast for one lap. I am a little nervous about tomorrow I don't want to mess it up. Qualifying went really good and practice went really great I can't wait for the race tomorrow."
Kenseth's lap of 180.856 mph beat the previous track record set by Jimmie Johnson in 2003. Additionally, all of the top four cars beat that record. It is Kenseth's first ever top-ten start at Kansas Speedway.
Elliott Sadler was just edged out of the top spot; the No. 38 Ford will start on the outside pole, "That was a great lap. I am so proud of my guys. I think we are at a true form of teamwork right now. We are doing a lot of stuff by committee but everybody has really joined in together. We have our backs up against the wall right now but we are really trying hard.
Sadler continues to turn around his program after crew chief changes three weeks ago sent Todd Parrott back to the No. 88 Ford of Dale Jarrett and interim crew chief Kevin Buskirk assisted by Raymond Fox III and Dave Smith took over duties on the No. 38 Ford.
"I told Doug Yates we are going to get another pole here this weekend," said Sadler who charted a lap of 180.856 mph. "It's a lot of fun to drive; everybody is really happy right now. It's really cool to run this well every week we just need a little bit of luck right now. I am going to sleep on a different side of the bed tonight and get up on a different side of the bed and see if that will bring us some luck tomorrow."
Jeff Gordon will start third with a lap of 180.469 mph. Gordon narrowly missed the Chase for the Nextel Cup after a disastrous run of bad luck; Team 24 now is trying to grab the coveted 11th place spot in series standings.
"Our goals are just too really get ourselves back into contention for wins and leading laps and running up front and we haven't been very good on these 1.5-mile tracks," said Gordon. "I'm really excited that we're here because this has been a good race track for us. We've been really searching and making a lot of changes and testing things out and we're going in a different direction just trying to learn for next year to get ourselves back in championship form. This is a great track for us to get something going."
Scott Wimmer and Carl Edwards complete the top five.
"This type of race track - we race on so many tracks this size and in this format that as a driver I've gotten really good at these places and I feel comfortable coming to these places," Edwards said of Kansas Speedway. "As a team we've developed some awesome cars. We went out there and I think we were third in the first practice today. It's pretty straightforward. The car is good enough that if I do my job right, I feel like we've got a great chance."
Noteworthy: Denny Hamlin making his first Nextel Cup series start qualified the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet crashed during his time-trial effort. Hamlin's first lap earned him the seventh starting spot but he will have to drop to the rear since he will start with a back-up car.
"Just got loose getting into three," said Hamlin. "It just got out of control. I decided to go ahead and go for the second lap. I messed up my first lap and thought I definitely thought I had a shot at being on the pole for a little bit on the second lap. Just messed up. Luckily, we have a good back up car."
Kasey Kahne also wrecked. Kahne did not even get up to full speed, wrecking the No. 9 Evernham Dodge on his warm-up lap, "I just got into the corner and got on the gas to try and have good speed when I got to the start/finish and the car started going up a little bit and spun around. We just missed it a little bit. It's a shame this is a good car, this was our Indy car. So, we'll get it fixed up and get this other car going. Hopefully, we will get a good spot."
Kahne will take the green flag from deep in the rear of the field in a back- up car.
Forty-nine cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field. Failing to make the show were Robby Gordon, Carl Long, Greg Saks, Eric McClure, Tony Raines and Wayne Anderson.