Matt Kenseth kicked his NASCAR comeback into high gear on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race winner claimed the pole for Saturday’s edition of the biggest all-star event in sports. Kenseth – in only his second start with Roush Fenway Racing after taking a sabbatical following last year – averaged 126.915 miles per hour in the three-laps-plus-a-pit stop format. The 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion will have Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. beside him on the front row for Saturday night’s no-holds-barred rumble with restrictor plates.
Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. completed the top five. Ryan Blaney was sixth with defending race winner Kyle Busch seventh as Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano completed the top 10.
MATT KENSETH, No. 6 #DoYouKnowJack Ford Fusion (Pole Winner): “The handling wasn’t much of an issue with the restrictor plates. So, I couldn’t mess that up too bad. Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) helped me quite a bit with getting on to pit road. The getting on and off pit road was good and the speed was good. I was proud of the way our guys executed today with no practice. So to have a good pit stop was great. We didn’t do much today but what we did do was good. I don’t really know what to expect for tomorrow. It’s always good to start up front no matter what kind of race it is, especially here. It was a good day today.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd): “It was fun. I kind of like this format. It makes it a little more interesting. I wish I could have gone a little later. I feel like I gave up a little getting on pit road. I was really good in my braking zone and getting to the box. Getting out of the box and back up on the track I felt I was a little slow. I wish I could have gone back and done that over again. All in all, obviously, our pit crew did a good job. To have fast pit stops with no penalties is the biggest thing for this format. … Nice to have a Roush Fenway front row. It’s been a very long time since that has happened. So, I’m happy with that.”
Tickets, pre-race pit passes and camping packages for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race are available by visiting online. Kids 13 and under get in for just $10. Race tickets are also available at the gates or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267).
CMS PR (HHP/Harold Hinson photo)