Matt Kenseth wins pole for All-Star Race; Roush Fenway sweeps front row
CONCORD, North Carolina -- One week after coming off the bench, Matt Kenseth won the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Driving the No. 6 Ford, Kenseth posted the best average speed in the session which saw drivers make three laps around the track and a pit stop.
Kenseth claimed his third All-Star pole with an average speed of 126.915 mph. He also had the best pit stop time at 16.1 seconds.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified second (126.427 mph), giving Roush Fenway Racing a sweep of the front row. It’s the third time a team has swept the front row in the All-Star Race.
“It’s neat to sit on the pole,” Kenseth told Fox Sports 1. “Ricky was a huge help obviously. Having both cars on the front row is really a tribute to these guys, the pit stops and obviously the engines ... to get this done. This is more about the car and the team then it really was about me.”
Kenseth’s pole comes while he’s driving a paint scheme honoring Mark Martin’s 1998 win in the All-Star Race. He last won the All-Star pole in 2007.
Qualifying came after teams got minimal practice time due to rain. That prevented teams from getting a grasp of the rules package this weekend that includes restrictor plates.
“It’s always good to start up front, no matter what the racing is like and no matter where you’re at,” Kenseth said.
The top five is completed by Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.
Denny Hamlin qualified 14th after overshooting his pit box and then being dealt an outside tire penalty.
Kasey Kahne will start last. During his qualifying run he overshot his pit box and then had two unsecured lug nuts, which is a 10-second penalty.
The full field will be determined by the Monster Energy Open tomorrow night. Three drivers will advance via stage wins and a fourth will make it through a fan vote.