Ky. Busch tops Kenseth for Daytona pole
Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front starting row for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400, with Kyle Busch winning the pole and Matt Kenseth placing second in qualifying at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch posted a lap in Friday's qualifying at 193.723 mph for his third pole of the season and the 13th of his Sprint Cup Series career. It's also the first time he's won a pole for a restrictor-plate race (Daytona and Talladega) in any one of NASCAR's three national touring series.
"This is certainly a cool day, because not that many opportunities come around for me to win poles for restrictor-plate races," Busch said. "It's a team effort, of course, being able to come to these places and have great race cars for me to guide it around the racetrack and do a good job. All in all, I was happy with the effort today, and I'm really excited about being able to start up front, especially with my teammate, Matt Kenseth."
Kenseth's lap was clocked at 193.299 mph. He claimed his series-leading fourth win of the season last weekend at Kentucky. Kenseth also led the most laps in the first two restrictor-plate races this season -- Daytona 500 and Talladega.
"Our plate stuff has been really fast this year," Kenseth said. "It's encouraging that we qualified that well. Toyota has brought some speed, and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) gave us some good horsepower to qualify that good today. I was really happy with the way my car drove (in Thursday's practice) and the speed that we seemed to have. Qualifying doesn't always mean a lot at a superspeedway, but it's nice to start up front. Hopefully, we can keep it up there, lead some laps and stay in front of any potential trouble."
Clint Bowyer from Michael Waltrip Racing qualified third to give Toyota the top-three starting positions. Kasey Kahne, in a Chevrolet, took the fourth spot, while Bowyer's teammate, Martin Truex Jr., completed the top-five.
"I can't wait for tomorrow night," Bowyer said. "We all know it's going to be wild. It always is at Daytona. It doesn't matter about qualifying. I hate to say that. The only thing that matters is that last lap and what situation you're in and who's in that situation with you."
Paul Menard, Michael Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson, who won the Daytona 500 in February, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg Biffle qualified sixth through 10th respectively.
Danica Patrick will start 11th. Patrick became the first female to start on the pole for a race in NASCAR's top series earlier this year when she won qualifying for the Daytona 500.
All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field for Saturday's 400-mile race at Daytona, which is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. ET.
07/05 20:09:23 ET