Kenseth Nabs All-Star Pole

Sarah Crabill - Getty Images

CONCORD, NC - RIS - Matt kenseth was the surprise winner of the pole for Saturday night's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup All-Star race.  Kenseth piloted the No.6 Ford to the top spot. Kenseth, in his second race as a replacement driver for Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne, won the pole with an average speed of 126.915 miles per hour. Friday’s three-lap qualifying runs included a four-tire pit stop and a no-speed-limit dash down pit road by the 17 participating drivers, a dramatic difference from typical point-race time trials.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kenseth’s RFR teammate, qualified second.

“This is way more about the car and the pit crew than me,” Kenseth said. “To have both of our cars on the front row is really a tribute to these guys.”

Kenseth was called back to Roush Fenway by team co-owner Jack Roush in an attempt to jolt the team from years of struggle. Kenseth is scheduled to share the No. 6 car with Bayne the rest of the season.

“It’s nice to have a Roush Fenway front row,” Stenhouse said. “Been a long time since that’s happened. It’s a different format, but I’m really glad that happened.”

Adding drama to qualifying was a day-long battle with weather. A series of showers pelted the track much of the day, leaving drivers with little on-track practice and frustrating pit crews because their scheduled practice with fast-entry stops was cancelled.

Kevin Harvick had the fastest practice speed with the restricted engines – 170.406 miles per hour. Qualifying speeds at CMS typically fall in the 190 range.

Rain forced cancellation of Friday’s scheduled qualifying for the Monster Energy Open, Saturday night’s preliminary race. Winners of the three segments (20, 20 and 10 laps) in the Open will advance to the All-Star Race. The Open starting field was set by owner points.

The 21st and final starting position in the All-Star Race will be determined by a fan vote.

Qualifying results for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race

Position, Driver, Car, Speed
1) Matt Kenseth, No. 6 #Doyouknowjack Ford, 126.915
2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 126.427
3) Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Fan Club Ford, 126.233
4) Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford, 125.834
5) Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 5-Hour Energy / Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 125.636
6) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Hawk/Carlisle Ford, 125.511
7) Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Red Nose Day Toyota, 125.427
8) Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 124.962
9) Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Chevrolet, 124.738
10) Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 124.137
11) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's For Pros Chevrolet, 123.624
12) Jamie Mcmurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, 123.105
13) Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar / Grainger Chevrolet, 121.031
14) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Fedex Express Toyota, 119.235
15) Kurt Busch, No. 41 Monster Energy Ford, 119.121
16) Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 117.582
17) Kasey Kahne, No. 95 Dumont Jets Chevrolet, 111.231

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 5, Posted 9:51 PM, 05.18.2018