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Kenseth Nabs Pole For Cup Race At Fontana

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 21 2014

Matt Kenseth won the pole and Jimmie Johnson was third at Fontana on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing on Friday won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Kenseth won the pole with a a lap at 187.315 mph.

The pole was Kenseth’s first at the 2-mile Fontana oval.

“We unloaded and had some really good speed,” Kenseth said. “We worked on race trim a little bit. It wasn’t driving quite like we hoped, but we did have some really good speed and that translated into qualifying trim. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) did a really good job the last two weeks of making good adjustments through the round and making it how we needed it for the last one. They gave me the car and really all I did was not mess it up, so they did a great job and glad we got it.”

Second was series points leader Brad Keselowski of Team Penske, whose fast lap was 187.105 mph.

“I have had a lot of fun with this new format,” Keselowski said. “I don’t feel like a very good qualifier. It took me all three shots to even get in the top-10. Fortunately the last one was our best with getting us second and I am really proud of my team for that effort and adjusting on the car to get it where we wanted it to be.

“We have a lot of great momentum going and want to keep that up. Qualifying up front is always fun and always a great start to the weekend. There is more to be done in the race and we need to keep that going as well. I’ve had some really good races of late and happy where we are at. We are finding a nice flow for our team and hopefully we can keep that up and get another race win this weekend.

Third fastest was defending series champion Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports.

Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick of Stewart Haas Racing and Clint Bowyer of Michael Waltrip Racing.

Bowyer, off to a slow start to 2014 as he sits 24th in points, seemed happy with his qualifying effort.

“You’ve got what you’ve got when you get out there,” he said. “Obviously there was a couple adjustments you can make there. But, if you’re off that tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths. I was afraid we weren’t going to be able to back around a wedge out of it and get it. I’m proud of our PEAK Toyota so far. It was fast off the truck again. We need a good run here at this really fun race track. It’s neat to see Matt win the pole.”

Jeff Gordon qualified sixth fastest while Joey Logano was seventh, Marcos Ambrose eighth, Carl Edwards ninth and Tony Stewart 10th.

Qualifying at Auto Club 400

Friday, March 21, 2014

1. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 187.315 mph.

2. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 187.105 mph.

3. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 186.935 mph.

4. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 186.901 mph.

5. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 186.461 mph.

6. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 186.384 mph.

7. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 186.273 mph.

8. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 186.013 mph.

9. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 185.878 mph.

10. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 185.792 mph.

11. (42) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 185.773 mph.

12. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 185.725 mph.

13. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 185.323 mph.

14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 185.314 mph.

15. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 185.290 mph.

16. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 185.209 mph.

17. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 185.166 mph.

18. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 184.715 mph.

19. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 184.521 mph.

20. (3) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 183.960 mph.

21. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 183.955 mph.

22. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 183.861 mph.

23. (7) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, 183.491 mph.

24. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 185.095 mph.

25. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 184.525 mph.

26. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 184.322 mph.

27. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 184.299 mph.

28. (51) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, 183.983 mph.

29. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 183.922 mph.

30. (27) Matt Crafton(i), Chevrolet, 183.641 mph.

31. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 183.580 mph.

32. (30) Parker Kligerman #, Toyota, 182.918 mph.

33. (35) David Reutimann, Ford, 182.219 mph.

34. (26) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 181.525 mph.

35. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 181.507 mph.

36. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 181.365 mph.

37. (33) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, Owner Points

38. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Owner Points

39. (83) Ryan Truex #, Toyota, Owner Points

40. (23) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, Owner Points

41. (34) David Ragan, Ford, Owner Points

42. (66) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Owner Points

43. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Owner Points

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 21 2014
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