By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Matt Kenseth turned a lap at 192.089 mph in the final round of knockout qualifying to earn the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
The pole was the first of the season for Kenseth and the 18th of his career. Kenseth has two victories at Kansas and will look to clinch his spot in the Round of 8 with a third victory at the 1.5-mile track.
“Our cars are pretty fast this weekend, but anything could happen, as we saw last weekend,” Kenseth said. “We have to go 400 miles on Sunday. Hopefully we can stay up front and be in the mix.”
Kenseth will be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch. Carl Edwards qualified third to give Joe Gibbs Racing a sweep of the top three starting positions. Martin Truex, Jr, making his 400th Sprint Cup start, will start fourth.
“We’ve all had – the year has been pretty solid for the organization,” Kenseth said of what it meant to have four Toyota drivers starting together in the first two rows. “We all had a pretty good day. I think we had five of us in the top-seven or something like that. I’m just glad we finally got one – those guys have gotten a lot of them this year, the 78 (Truex) and 19 (Edwards) and all those guys have won poles, everyone except for me so I was glad to finally get one. It’s great having teammates that good, but it’s also hard to beat them. I was glad we got one today.”
Nine of 12 drivers in The Chase advanced to the final round of knockout qualifying and will start inside the top-12 on Sunday. Chase Elliott (13th), Kurt Busch (15th) and Jimmie Johnson (21st) were the three Chase-eligible drivers that did not advance to the final round.
“We just have to have our car driving good. A starting spot is one thing. We also have multiple laps on Sunday rather than just one to try and make our car drive good,” said Elliott. “It is good to have a good starting spot and it is important to have a good pit selection and what not…but if you can get your car driving good that will override it on Sunday.”
Teams will have two practice sessions on Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s 400-mile race. Television coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC with radio coverage available on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The complete starting lineup for the Hollywood Casino 400, via NASCAR, can be found here.