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Kenseth Steps Out Of Character, Wins Pole

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, May 8 2009
Matt Kenseth wins Cup pole at Darlington.

Matt Kenseth wins Cup pole at Darlington.

RacinToday.com

Matt Kenseth set a track record en route to winning the pole for Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway on Friday.

Kenseth turned a lap at 179.514 mph in the session.

“Whenever you run that fast it’s the car,” Kenseth said. “You can only go as fast as the car will carry you and Drew (Blickensderfer, his crew chief) and Chip (Bolin, his engineer) and all these guys on the DeWalt team did a great job of giving me a fast car today, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night.”

The pole was the first of the year for Kenseth and just the fourth in a career that began full time back in 2000.

That got a chuckle out of Ryan Newman, who is one of the best qualifiers in the game.

Told that Newman made a bit of fun about Kenseth winning the pole in record fashion, Kenseth said, “Yeah, with how many poles he has – I think he has the most poles for an active driver, maybe not – but, anyway, that record is definitely in jeopardy with us winning this pole. We’re catching him. I think another 40 or so and we’ll be caught up to him.

Kenseth was fast all day in practice, but, he said, “I didn’t think we’d have a serious shot at the pole, but our car was driving really good and, actually, for once when it quit raining I was glad that we got to qualify today.” 

Rain in the afternoon cancelled Nationwide Series qualifying and greened-up the track for the Cup cars.

Jeff Gordon will start Saturday’s Southern 500 on the outside of the front row after recording a qualifying lap of 178.861.

That was a heck of a lap, man,” Gordon said. “But I tell you, Matt (Kenseth) put down an awesome lap.”

Rounding out the top five on the starting grid are Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and Joey Logano.

Three-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will start near the back of the field after crashing before recording an official lap in qualifying.

 

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Qualifying results for Saturday’s Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway:

  1. Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford
  2. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet
  3. Ryan Newman, No. 39 Chevrolet
  4. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 77 Dodge
  5. Joey Logano, No. 20 Toyota
  6. Jeff Burton, No. 31 Chevrolet
  7. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge
  8. Kurt Busch, No. 2 Dodge
  9. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford
  10. Marcos Ambrose, No. 47 Toyota
  11. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford
  12. Mark Martin, No. 5 Chevrolet
  13. Casey Mears, No. 07 Chevrolet
  14. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota
  15. David Ragan, No. 6 Ford
  16. Martin Truex, No. 1 Chevrolet
  17. Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Chevrolet
  18. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet
  19. Elliott Sadler, No. 19 Dodge
  20. Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Ford
  21. David Reutimann, No. 00 Toyota
  22. Max Papis, No. 13 Toyota
  23. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota
  24. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet
  25. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Chevrolet
  26. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet
  27. Bobby Labonte, No. 96 Ford
  28. Robby Gordon, No. 7 Toyota
  29. Regan Smith, No. 78 Chevrolet
  30. David Gilliland, No. 71 Chevrolet
  31. Brad Keselowski, No. 25 Chevrolet
  32. Joe Nemechek, No. 32 Toyota
  33. Dave Blaney, No. 66 Toyota
  34. David Stremme, No. 12 Dodge
  35. Brian Vickers, No. 83 Toyota
  36. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 Toyota
  37. Scott Riggs, No. 36 Toyota
  38. A.J. Allmendinger, No. 44 Dodge
  39. Sterling Marlin, No. 09 Dodge
  40. Jeremy Mayfield, No. 41 Toyota
  41. Scott Speed, No. 83 Toyota
  42. Tony Raines, No. 34 Chevrolet
  43. Paul Menard, No. 98 Ford
  44. Reed Sorenson, No. 43
  45. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet
Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, May 8 2009
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