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Kenseth On Pole At 600

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, May 21 2015

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Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing ran his fastest lap of the night (194.252 mph) in the third and final round of knockout qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway and secured the top spot on the grid for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

“I feel like we’re gaining on it. I thought we had good speed today. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) had a plan and they all executed it well. Just try to get a good lap today and then try to get it driving good Saturday,” Kenseth said.

The pole was Kenseth’s first at Charlotte and the 15th of his career. Kenseth, who covered the 1.5-mile distance in 27.799 seconds, was a whopping .204 seconds faster than Joey Logano (192.836 mph), whose No. 22 Team Penske Ford will start beside Kenseth’s Camry on the front row.

“I think starting up front is important at this track,” Kenseth said. “It typically goes through a lot of changes here, especially if the sun is out for the beginning of the race. You want to have good track position, good pit selection—all those things—so if you get a little bit off and you’re chasing the setup, or the track changes, you have a little bit of a buffer being toward the front, hopefully…

“All the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas had some speed tonight, and that was encouraging.”

Carl Edwards (192.733 mph) was third in his No. 19 JGR Toyota, followed by Greg Biffle in his No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford (192.226 mph) and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner Denny Hamlin in his No. 11 JGR Toyota (192.007 mph).

“It was a good effort for our team,” Logano said. “You look at where we ended in practice I wasn’t too worried about where our practice speeds were, but it wasn’t very glamorous that’s for sure.  The first round I was like, ‘Maybe I was a little overconfident going into this one.’  We were 22nd after the first round and Todd Gordon made some good adjustments.  I made some adjustments on my line and was able to get some speed out of our car and I think we were seventh on the next one and then second the last, so I’m proud of my team.

“Last year, our weak point in qualifying was maintaining that speed throughout three sessions, and this year it seems like we don’t have much speed the first session, but we’re getting better throughout them.  I’d much rather be good in the last session.  It’s a lot of fun to have a car that qualifies well each week so far here, so it’s been a lot of fun.  We’ve got a couple weeks to figure out how to beat the 20 car.  He’s very, very fast obviously.  That was an amazing lap they ran there at the end.  You here second place it’s like, ‘Yeah.  It’s great.  Cool,’ and then you hear how far off you are and you’re like, ‘Not even close.’  So we’ve got a little bit of work to do.”

 

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, May 21 2015
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