Kenseth snags first Daytona pole

Just like February, a Ford is on the pole for a Sprint Cup race at Daytona.

For the first time in his career, Matt Kenseth will start a Cup race at Daytona on the pole after winning the pole for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.

Kenseth’s lap of 192.386 mph outlasted the final 12 qualifiers—which included both of is Roush Fenway Racing teammates, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards—for the eighth pole of his Cup Series career.

“It feels good, but I really had nothing to do with this,” said Kenseth to Speed after qualifying had been completed. “It’s really all these guys behind me at Roush Fenway Racing that prepare these really fast race cars.”

After winning the season opening Daytona 500 back in February, Kenseth will attempt to become only the fifth driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero 400 in the same season.

“In impound configuration[where crews are not allowed to work on the cars after the qualifying session is completed] it certainly tells you your car has enough speed.

“This car ran terrific at Talladega for us. I had a little bit of damage, and I didn’t do a good job on that last restart keeping Greg[Biffle] with me. I feel like I lost the race for these guys.

In the first two restrictor plate races of the season(Daytona and Talladega), the Fords have had the upper-hand when it comes to both horse power and cooling engines in the big packs.

With race-time temperatures being in the 80 degree range, keeping engines cool will be a challenge drivers face tomorrow night.

“You never know how the race is going to unfold,” Kenseth continued. “Greg[Biffle] had a really strong car and I was able to work with him at both of them races.

“We were able to get our cars together which made both us fast. Hopefully that’ll happen again.”

Tony Stewart timed in second fastest in the qualifying session. However, an open cooling hose forced NASCAR to disallow the three-time Daytona July race winner’s time.

Stewart will start the race from the forty-second position.

With 44 cars attempting to qualify for the Coke Zero 400, one driver was forced to head home.

Robert Richardson Jr. was the first driver to qualify in the session and will head home after his lap of record wasn’t fast enough to make Saturday night’s event.

Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott, Casey Mears, A.J. Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski,and Marcos Ambrose are the top-10 starters.

Coke Zero 400 Starting Lineup: 

1: Matt Kenseth

2: Ryan Newman

3: Kasey Kahne

4: Greg Biffle

5: Jeff Gordon

6: Bill Elliott

7: Casey Mears

8: A.J. Allmendinger

9: Brad Keselowski

10: Marcos Ambrose

11: Kevin Harvick

12: Carl Edwards

13: Paul Menard

14: Juan Pablo Montoya

15: Trevor Bayne

16: Jimmie Johnson

17: Aric Almirola

18: Martin Truex Jr.

19: Joey Logano

20: Jeff Burton

21: Mike Bliss

22: Kyle Busch

23: Denny Hamlin

24: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

25: Regan Smith

26: David Stremme

27: David Ragan

28: Michael Waltrip

29: Clint Bowyer

30: Jamie McMurray

31: Josh Wise

32: David Gilliland

33: Dave Blaney

34: Terry Labonte

35: Kurt Busch

36: Joe Nemechek

37: Stephen Leicht

38: Landon Cassill

39: David Reutimann

40: Travis Kvapil

41: Bobby Labonte

42: Tony Stewart

43: J.J. Yeley