FORT WORTH, Texas — Matt Kenseth will be on the pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway but it was a qualifying lap by Tony Stewart that stole the show.
In the second round of qualifying Stewart set a track record with a lap of 200.11 mph, breaking the old track record set by Kevin Harvick in April (198.282). It was also the first 200 mph qualifying lap at a 1 Â½-mile track in Sprint Cup Series history.
"I never dreamed you’d see a lap time like that around here," said Kenseth, who won the pole in the final session with a lap of 199.299 mph. "It’s incredibly fast."
Stewart, who will start sixth Sunday, thought he had a chance to be faster in the first round of qualifying. Despite not getting the speed he wanted in the final qualifying segment he’s happy to have the record.
"It is always cool to be the first guy to be able to do anything," he said. "To be the first to run 200 mph average on a 1.5-mile is pretty cool."
Kenseth is fourth in points and will start alongside Jeff Gordon, who is currently the leader in the Eliminator phase of the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship standings. Of the eight drivers still alive for the title, six qualified in the top 12. The exceptions were Denny Hamlin (20th) and Brad Keselowski (26th).