Ryan Blaney Wins Pole, Multiple Drivers Fail To Make It Through Tech Inspection

Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In yet another qualifying session tainted by problems with teams getting through inspection, Ryan Blaney was able to break through the mess and win his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole.

Blaney will lead the field to the green for the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday alongside Ford Racing teammate Joey Logano. This will be Blaney’s fifth career start at Kansas Speedway and 65th career MENCS start.

After posting some quick times in both practice sessions earlier in the afternoon, Martin Truex Jr. will roll off third. Last weekend’s winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start fourth while the defending winner of this event, Kyle Busch, rounded out the top five.

As has often been the case this season, multiple teams struggled to pass pre-qualifying inspection, with multiple top teams failing to ever make it out onto the track to post a time.

In fact, Chase Elliott was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to actually make it out onto the track for qualifying, as Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kasey Kahne failed to make it through inspection prior to the time expiration of the qualifying rounds.

Clint Bowyer was rather vocal about his frustrations with the process and will start 30th tomorrow night.

“This is just, wow,” said Bowyer, who is a native of Emporia, Kansas. “Super disappointing. You are off ten-thousandths of an inch. It is ridiculous. Most people can’t even understand how little that is. I get it. If you are off, you are off, but I watched my guys move the car and adjust the car accordingly for it and then actually overcompensate on it because we were worried about not making it. Then they wheel it back in and fail the exact same amount? Twice? That makes no sense. None.”

Earnhardt, who will start 33rd, took to Twitter to express similar frustrations.

For Johnson, he took a more optimistic approach and seemed to think he could make up a few spots from the 29th position.

“A lot of cars didn’t get a chance to go out and a lot of cars had trouble,” said Johnson. “So, I don’t know what lies in all of that, but I’m not the best at qualifying anyway, so this takes all the pressure off of me (laughs) and my job at what I do behind the wheel. And I love passing race cars. I was really happy with our car. We actually had some short run speed and some q-speed today, so I’m disappointed we didn’t get a chance to go out and take my Lowe’s car for a rip, but I love passing cars and there’s a lot of them on this race track. So, we’ll be fine.”

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth did make it out to qualify but got into the wall and will start the race from the 14th position.

“We were just low on grip,” said Kenseth “We had good speed in practice. We were a little off on our balance, but we were top 10 in all of the practices, so a little disappointed to be 14th. I just didn’t have the grip I had in practice for whatever reason. Our balance wasn’t too bad. We were just loose and then we were tight and just using up too much real estate. Disappointed in the qualifying effort, but hopefully we’ll get it right tomorrow.”

Points leader Kyle Larson had to qualify in a back-up car following a wreck in practice earlier in the day and was able to post a decent time, starting ninth in tomorrow’s event.

“It was good there in qualifying,” said Larson. “A little bit mad at myself, I overdrove (Turns) 1 and 2 quite a bit there the final round and went slower. Upset about that, but to do what we did in a back-up car, getting our back-up car out there in time to make some race runs and a qualifying run in practice was pretty important. Happy with the team about that and starting top 10, we can win from there.”

The Go Bowling 400 will begin at 7:30PM ET and can be viewed on FS1 and heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


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