Sunday, September 19, 2021

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Matt Kenseth wins pole for Auto Club 500

For the fifth week in a row, NASCAR will have a different face leading them to the green flag as Matt Kenseth won his first pole of the 2013 race season. Kenseth scored the Coors Light Pole Award with a lap of 38.438 seconds around the 1.5 mile oval. It was Kenseth’s 12th career Cup pole and first at Fontana.

“Track position is important everywhere,” Kenseth said after qualifying. “This is probably one of the best tracks we go to, though, as far as passing and all the different lanes … there’s a lot of options here. … It’s a really fun racetrack, especially when the car is driving good and doing the things you need it to do. Track position is important, but it is a track where I feel like you can come from anywhere if you have the best car and get up through there and do some passing.”

Brad Keselowski qualified second, marking his fourth consecutive front row starting spot this year.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with it,” Keselowski said.” I don’t feel like I’m a very good qualifier, so it took me all three shots to get it in the top 10, so, fortunately, the last one was our best — we came in second. I’m really proud of that effort and proud of my team for adjusting on the car to getting it to where we wanted it to be. … We needed all the time we could get to dial our car in and make the adjustments we needed, and we barely had enough time to get it done.”

Jimmie Johnson will start third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.

Jeff Gordon qualified sixth, followed by Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. Keselowski, Johnson and Logano are the only three drivers to make it to the final round of Knock Out qualifying each week this year.

Denny Hamlin qualified 13th, followed by Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Notably, Greg Biffle qualified 24th while Kasey Kahne qualified 26th. Matt Crafton qualified Paul Menard’s car in the 30th spot and will practice it tomorrow. Menard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet for Sunday’s race as he is spending time at home right now with his newborn daughter.

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