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Kenseth Takes Cup Pole At Phoenix

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 12 2011

Matt Kenseth will start Sunday's Cup race from P1. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Erik J. Perel)

Ford driver Matt Kenseth won the pole on Saturday for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kenseth, of Roush Fenway Racing, won the pole with a lap at 137.101 mph. It was the seventh pole of Kenseth’s career.

“We watched everyone else and obviously there were a lot of people low on grip and it looked like the track and cars were a lot looser than yesterday,” Kenseth said. “Everyone had a different strategy. Jimmy (Fennig) had a strategy to go fast in the first practice to go out late. Even though we knew the temperature would be hotter he thought the track could be faster with more cars having run on it.

“A lot of people chose the opposite strategy and worked on race setup in the first practice and did their qualifying stuff in the second practice to go out early. He had a plan and made the right adjustments. He thought it would be looser today. I didn’t get all there was to get out of the car. It was just that good. They made all the right choices there.”

Second fastest was A.J. Allmendinger in a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. He had a fast lap at 136.446 mph.

Allmendinger, like many in qualifying, made his second attempt his fastest attempt.

“I messed my first lap up and just tried to basically back my second lap down to get a clean lap in and see where that put me,” he said. “I definitely knew there was a chance of it getting beat. I was surprised it held up as long as it did with the guys that were behind me. It is really cool to have Ford with the first three cars and I am excited about tomorrow. I think our car will be really quick. We were good in race trim and more than anything we have to see how the track plays out now.”

Third fastest in qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 500 was Allmendinger’s Richard Petty Racing teammate, Marcos Ambrose. His fast lap was at 136.307 mph.

Fourth quickest in the session was Mark Martin. Martin’s top lap in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was 136.080 mph.

Fifth was Martin Truex Jr. while Jamie McMurray was sixth.

David Reutimann was seventh fastest.

Tony Stewart, second in Chase points, qualified eighth.

“I thought it was alright, we did not get on the pole, but we had a nice solid lap and that is what we needed to do,” Stewart, who is three points out of the lead, said.

Right behind Stewart was points leader Carl Edwards.

“It was pretty exciting out there,” Edwards said. “I saw David Gilliland, I was most impressed with him. He almost hit the fence, went all the way back and almost did it again. This is pretty neat. If it were like this tomorrow it would be a really fun race. I think it is going to cool off tomorrow and be a lock down high speed race track. Now it is up to the crew chiefs.”

Kasey Kahne rounded out the top 10.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 12 2011
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