Posted: Friday, June 27th 2014 at 9:19pm
Keselowski's track record earns Kentucky Sprint Cup pole
By Gary B. Graves, AP Sports Writer
Brad Keselowski scored the pole for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. / Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
SPARTA, KY — Brad Keselowski couldn't stick around long to discuss his track-record pole speed for Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
After all, he had to jump in another Ford he drove to the pole for Friday night's Nationwide Series race just hours before.
It was that kind of the day for the 2012 NASCAR champion, who had a lap at 188.791 mph the third knockout qualifying segment to take the pole for the 400-mile race. Keselowski earned his third pole this season and the sixth of his career.
"I thought we were all going to be a lot slower, so I was a little bit surprised by the speeds that were ran," Keselowski said. "But (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) did a good job working on and adjusting the car and getting it to where I wanted it and they hit what I wanted."
A day in which 23 drivers broke Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s year-old mark of 183.636 mph in the first round of qualifying alone ended with the 2012 race winner shattering it by more than 5 mph. Keselowski overtook Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, who turned a final lap of 187.175 after blasting the record in each of the first two rounds.
Logano's effort wouldn't have been shocking had he held on, considering he won the Las Vegas pole and has started 13 of 16 races in the top 10, one more than his teammate. In any event, Penske earned its third front-row sweep this season.
"I wouldn't say we're destroying them, I think a lot of it is in the cars, to be honest with you," said Logano, a two-time winner this season. "I feel like our cars have just been fast."
Points leader Jeff Gordon will start third in a Chevy, salvaging a session in which Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson (25th) and Earnhardt (29th) didn't survive the first round while Kasey Kahne (20th) was knocked out in the second.
Denny Hamlin was fourth in a Toyota.
Kevin Harvick will start fifth alongside rookie Kyle Larson, whose 186.034 in a Chevy helped the manufacturer claim eight of the top 12 spots.
The first round was interesting as Johnson and Earnhardt failed to get up to speed. Johnson's No. 48 Chevy just missed the first cut at 183.661, four spots ahead of Earnhardt's 182.778.
"We didn't get the lap that we needed out there and didn't transfer," Johnson said. "But I feel actually decent about our car in race trim."
The second round claimed notables such as Tony Stewart, defending race champion Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch.
WDUN will have live PRN Radio coverage of Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway beginning at 7 pm on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Kentucky Speedway - Sparta, KY
Quaker State 400 Qualifying - June 27, 2014
(Car number in parentheses)
1. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 188.791 mph.
2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 187.175.
3. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 186.832.
4. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 186.374.
5. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 186.104.
6. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 186.034.
7. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 186.014.
8. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 185.957.
9. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 185.95.
10. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 185.803.
11. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 185.414.
12. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 185.096.
13. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 185.854.
14. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 185.714.
15. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 185.503.
17. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 185.096.
18. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 185.052.
19. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 184.761.
20. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 184.464.
21. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 184.307.
22. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 184.3.
23. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 184.106.
24. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 183.138.
25. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 183.661.
26. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 183.424.
27. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 183.163.
28. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 182.815.
29. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 182.803.
30. (26) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 182.778.
31. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 181.916.
32. (7) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 181.464.
33. (23) Alex Bowman, Toyota, 181.287.
34. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 181.196.
35. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 180.421.
36. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 179.7.
37. (40) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
38. (33) David Stremme, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
39. (83) Ryan Truex, Toyota, Owner Points.
40. (66) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, Owner Points.
41. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, Owner Points.
42. (93) Mike Bliss, Toyota, Owner Points.
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