CONCORD, NC – Matt Kenseth has given notice that he is the man to beat when the Chase goes under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500. With a speed of 194.532 mph, Kenseth put his Toyota on the pole for Saturday night. During knockout qualifying, the points leader was the fastest car to take the track in both the second and final sessions. This was Kenseth’s fourth pole of 2015 and follows up his pole run in May at Charlotte when he also set the fast time for the Coca-Cola 600.
Kenseth was ecstatic with the pole run, giving crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, much of the credit for the car’s performance.
“I knew it was going to be real fast,” Kenseth said. “I didn’t know we were going to sit on the pole by any means, but it had the feel and everything that I wanted. It’s funny, this place, if you can get it to drive just like you want, you can really perform well here, but it’s so hard to get that feel.
“But today he (Ratcliff) got it to drive that way. I was going to have to mess it up to not get it, as good as he had it there.”
Starting next to Kenseth will be the Toyota of Kyle Busch. Busch ran consistent times in each of the three qualifying rounds. A pair of Fords will make up the second row with Chase contender Joey Logano starting third and Greg Biffle in fourth.
All 12 of the drivers that moved into the ‘Round of 12’ of the Chase made it to the second round of qualifying tonight. Denny Hamlin qualified fifth followed by Kurt Busch in sixth. Carl Edwards was eighth, Ryan Newman 10th, last week’s winner and defending champion, Kevin Harvick was 11th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 12th.
Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. failed to make the final round of qualifying and will start 13th and 15th respectively. Jeff Gordon, who is making his final run at Charlotte, a track he has had great success at over the years, also failed to move into the final round and will make his final Charlotte start from the 22nd position.
It was a hot and humid day in North Carolina and as temperatures cooled, speeds increased. That bodes well for Saturday night when temperatures are expected to drop from today’s highs.
Click here for the complete starting lineup for the Bank of America 500.