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Matt Kenseth Wins Sprint Cup Series Pole in Fontana

NASCAR Media Site
NASCAR Media Site

Eric Smith
ISR Senior Writer

FONTANA, CA- Before last season, Matt Kenseth wasn’t a very strong qualifier. He never was a threat for many poles during his tenure with Roush/Fenway Racing. When he joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013, his qualifying struggles miraculously ended.

That stayed true for 2014 despite a slow start on qualifying weekends in the first four races.

Today though, Kenseth earned his 12th career Coors Light Pole Award as he will start on the pole for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval.

Kenseth, was strong from the get go and used his time wisely to lay down a lap of 187.315 mph in his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota to earn the top spot in Sunday’s race at Fontana.

Points leader Brad Keselowski earned his fourth straight front row start with a speed of 187.105 mph in the No. 2 Wurth Ford. He’s been very strong in qualifying trim this year as he earned the pole at Phoenix then started second at Las Vegas and Bristol the last two weeks.

The duo has fared pretty well at Fontana in their careers so they could be tough to beat Sunday.

The best driver in the history of NASCAR at Fontana will start third as six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson turned a lap of 186.935 mph. Johnson, was quickest in today’s practice session as well as he will be a factor in Sunday’s race too.

Joining Johnson in Row 2 is another Fontana great Kevin Harvick. “Happy” had the fastest speed until the closing minutes when the three beat him with under 90-seconds left.

Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five in today’s qualifying session.

The series will have two more practices on Saturday before to prepare their cars one last day for the big race on Sunday.

Auto Club 400 Starting Lineup:

Row 1: Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski

Row 2: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick

Row 3: Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon

Row 4: Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose

Row 5: Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart

Row 6: Kyle Larson R, Martin Truex Jr.

Row 7: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch

Row 8: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman

Row 9: Kurt Busch, A.J. Allmendinger

Row 10: Brian Vickers, Austin Dillon R

Row 11: Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Row 12: Michael Annett, Greg Biffle

Row 13: Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne

Row 14: Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier R

Row 15: David Gilliland, Parker Kligerman R

Row 16: Casey Mears, Cole Whitt R

Row 17: David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson

Row 18: Travis Kvapil, Josh Wise

Row 19: Brian Scott R, Alex Bowman R

Row 20: Ryan Truex R, Joe Nemechek

Row 21: David Ragan, Paul Menard

Row 22: Landon Cassill

Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report. Follow Eric and the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.

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