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Kenseth Earns Pole At Chicagoland

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, September 17 2011

Matt Kenseth will start the Chase at the front of the field. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

JOLIET, Ill.—Matt Kenseth will start the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from the pole position in the playoff’s first race.

Kenseth won the pole for the Geico 400 by posting a qualifying lap Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway  at 183.243 mph (29.469 seconds) to edge Paul Menard (183.125 mph) for the top starting spot.

The pole was Kenseth’s second of the season and the sixth of his career.

“The track is really wide, so there’s a lot of grooves to pass out there, but I still think (track position) is going to be important,” Kenseth said. “There were a few times in practice yesterday when I ran up on some cars, and it was more difficult to get around them than I expected.

“I think starting up front is nice, having a good pit stall. Hopefully, you can get a good start and get a bonus point (for leading a lap) and try to keep up with the track a little better. We’ve been qualifying a lot better, if you throw Richmond out, but we’ve been slipping a little at the end of the race. I’m really happy to be on the pole, but it’s just a starting position, and we’ve got to work really hard on the race, keeping up with our adjustments and that type of thing.”

Chase drivers completed the top five with Kurt Busch qualifying third at 183.032 mph, followed by Ryan Newman (183.007 mph) and Carl Edwards (182.914 mph), Kenseth’s teammate at Roush Fenway Racing.

“It was a great qualifying effort for us,” Busch said. “We feel like getting off to a strong start in the Chase is important, and it starts with qualifying.

“Thanks to my guys and most importantly, Steve Addington. He made a couple of quick adjustments while the car was on the grid for qualifying this afternoon.”

Other Chase drivers and their starting positions are Brad Keselowski (sixth), Kyle Busch (ninth), five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson (12th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19th), Jeff Gordon (23rd), Tony Stewart (26th), Denny Hamlin (27th) and Kevin Harvick (30th).

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, September 17 2011
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