Kenseth takes pole in Fontana

Toyota was strong again at Auto Club Speedway.

Matt Kenseth claimed the pole, his first of 2014 at Auto Club Speedway after three full rounds of knockout qualifying.

2014 star qualifier Brad Keselowski will take the green flag as the other driver on the front row.

“It was good, obviously. We unloaded and had some really good speed. We worked on race trim a little bit. It wasn’t driving quite like we hoped, but we did have some really good speed and that translated into qualifying trim,” Kenseth said in a press release.

“Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) did a really good job the last two weeks of making good adjustments through the round and making it how we needed it for the last one. They gave me the car and really all I did was not mess it up, so they did a great job and glad we got it.”

Keselowski will make his third consecutive front row start during Sunday’s 500 mile event at Auto Club Speedway.

“I have had a lot of fun with this new format. I don’t feel like a very good qualifier. It took me all three shots to even get in the top-10. Fortunately the last one was our best with getting us second and I am really proud of my team for that effort and adjusting on the car to get it where we wanted it to be,” Keselowski said.

Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

“We have a lot of great momentum going and want to keep that up. Qualifying up front is always fun and always a great start to the weekend. There is more to be done in the race and we need to keep that going as well. I’ve had some really good races of late and happy where we are at. We are finding a nice flow for our team and hopefully we can keep that up and get another race win this weekend.”

Other notable drivers who were unable to make it to the top 12, the final round of qualifying was Dale Earnhardt Jr, who ended up 15th overall and last week’s runner up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 22nd.

Tony Stewart, who made his first top five of the season last weekend at Bristol ended up 10th overall.

Kenseth added that starting up front at Fontana is a benefit.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Getty Images

“I tell you track position is important everywhere. This is probably one of the best tracks we go to as far as passing with all the different lanes unless you’re stuck on the top. There’s a lot of options here. This place is really wide, it’s very challenging as a driver, but very fun as well,” he said.

“If your car is handling a certain way you can find a groove that can help your car and move around a lot. Even in qualifying it was interesting how drastically different our grooves were when we qualified. It’s a really fun race track, especially when your car is driving good and doing the things you need it to do.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Brad Keselowski , Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Hendrick Motorsports
Article type Qualifying report
Tags coors light, joe gibbs racing, kyle busch, matt kenseth, nascar, nationwide, pole award, sprint cup, toyota