Sprint Cup qualifying results from Kansas Speedway
Red-hot Matt Kenseth has finished second in two of the past three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and on Sunday he’ll start on the pole in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
In the third and final round of Sprint Cup qualifying at Kansas late Friday afternoon, Kenseth turned a lap of 192.089 miles per hour in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to take his 18th career NASCAR Premier Series pole and the first of 2016.
“It’s nice to get a pole,” said Kenseth, who was leading this race last year when he got wrecked by Joey Logano in the closing laps.
“I feel like our qualifying hasn’t been nearly as good this year , or as consistent, as it has been in the rest of the years I’ve been here at JGR,” said Kenseth. “So I was glad to get it.”
It was a true Toyotathon at Kansas, with Camrys taking the top four qualifying spots to give them control of the front two rows of the starting grid.
JGR swept the top three qualifying spots, with Kyle Busch second and Carl Edwards third. Timing out fourth was the quasi-JGR team car, Furniture Row Racing Toyota and Martin Truex Jr. Alex Bowman completed the top five in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Busch qualified just 0.001-second slower than his pole-winning teammate.
“This is one of Matt’s best tracks, so to start second to him is pretty good,” said Busch, the defending series champion.
All told, Toyotas took five of the top seven qualifying spots.
“A good day to have all the JGR cars strong,” said Busch.
Early in the first round of qualifying, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tagged the wall, but not hard enough to have to go to a back-up car. In fact, he made it out of the first round to qualify 18th in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
All 12 of the drivers still in championship contention advanced to at least second round of Cup qualifying.
The Hollywood Casino 400 marks the midpoint of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the fifth of 10 races in the sanctioning body’s season-ending playoffs.
It’s also the second of three races in the Chase Round of 12. After next week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, the top eight drivers in points will go on to the semifinal round of the Chase.
Winning one of the three races in this round automatically advances a driver to the next round.
Jimmie Johnson, who won at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Sunday, is the only driver who has clinched a spot in the Round of 8 so far.
Friday at Kansas, Johnson qualified 21st, worst of any Chase driver, but in his case it doesn’t matter since he’s locked in.
“A ton tighter than we had in the opening round, so I’m bummed about that,” said Johnson, who admitted he needed to improve his qualifying game.
“I’m better at racing than I am at a single lap,” said Johnson
The Cup teams will have two rounds of practice on Saturday. The first is scheduled fro 11 a.m. ET, with Happy Hour taking place at 1:30 p.m.
Check out the full starting order below.