Matt Kenseth On Pole for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Matt Kenseth came close to winning at Kansas Speedway in the fall race last season but fell short after a late-race tap from eventual winner Joey Logano. As he looks to try and take that one back, he is already off to a great start after winning the pole for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

“I think it’s our first pole of the year,” said Kenseth, which it is indeed his first pole of the 2016 season. “Qualifying here I feel like we’ve been a little more inconsistent than we’ve been in years past at JGR for me. I haven’t done the best job of getting all three rounds put together. We were pretty good the first one, off a little bit the second one. Jason made some great adjustments and it was pretty much just right the third one. We still almost got beat. We barely got it but I felt like we got everything out of it and I felt like we hit the balance right and ended up getting a decent lap”

He will be surrounded by his Joe Gibbs Racing & Toyota teammates. Kyle Busch will start alongside on the front row. Carl Edwards will start third, and semi-teammate Martin Truex Jr. will roll off fourth. Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car, rounded out the top five.

“Our car was pretty good,” said Busch. “We certainly felt pretty happy with it earlier today and through practice and having a fast car there. So that was really strong in showing the speed that we have. Just trying to mimic that here today in qualifying.  I felt like we did a really good job of that in the second round and I felt even better about my lap in the third round but Matt was just able to get a little bit more out of it. Certainly messed up a little bit just the way the car was balanced through 1 and 2 being prepared for it and being able to get the most out of it. I had to re-lift and get out of the gas in turn two so that’s probably where our time was. I’m happy with second, especially to Matt. This is a really good place for him, arguably one of his best tracks so to be second to him is not too shabby.”

Logano was the highest finishing Ford, qualifying in the sixth position for Sunday’s race.

“That is better than where we have been,” said Logano. “We qualified 14th here the last two times we have 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 is 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.”

Jimmie Johnson had an uncharacteristically bad qualifying run, ending up 21st. After his win last weekend in Charlotte he doesn’t have any reason to worry, but would have liked a better starting spot to try and go for two in a row.

“It (having a win to automatically transfer) certainly takes the pressure off, but I don’t want it to, and I don’t want to fall back on the fact we are locked in,” said Johnson. “We need to qualify toward the front. That is the only way you are going to create the best scenario for Homestead. We need to get qualifying under control. I need to get better at it. We are not taking it lightly that we qualified 21st, but I’m not too concerned about it. I am better at racing, than I am at running a single lap.”

Chase drivers’ qualifying positions:

  • Matt Kenseth (1st)
  • Kyle Busch (2nd)
  • Carl Edwards (3rd)
  • Martin Truex Jr. (4th)
  • Joey Logano (6th)
  • Denny Hamlin (7th)
  • Brad Keselowski (8th)
  • Kevin Harvick (11th)
  • Austin Dillon (12th)
  • Chase Elliott (13th)
  • Kurt Busch (15th)
  • Jimmie Johnson (21st)

Full Starting Lineup

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