DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- After 58 career starts at Daytona International Speedway, two-time Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth captured his first pole on the 2.5-mile tri-oval with a 192.386 mph lap during qualifying for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.
“I’ve never won a superspeedway pole,” said Kenseth, who has now qualified for the 2013 Daytona Shootout. “It’s great to be on the pole – it puts us in the Shootout for next year. You like to be in all the special races. There’s been a couple of years where I missed the Shootout and whenever you’re not in (it), you feel like you didn’t do your job as good as you should; you feel like you should be in the special races.”
With Kenseth’s pole, Roush Fenway Racing continues their dominance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the “World Center of Racing” that goes back to David Ragan and Kenseth’s 1-2 finish in last year’s Coke Zero 400. That string of success continued into 2012 when Kenseth won his Gatorade Duel and the Daytona 500.
Starting alongside Kenseth is 2008 Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman (192.353) with Kasey Kahne (192,291), Greg Biffle (192.139) and Jeff Gordon (192.061) rounding out the top five. Newman’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Tony Stewart had initially qualified second, but his No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet failed inspection and his time was disallowed.
RFR was successful in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as well with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. netting his first pole at Daytona International Speedway with a fast lap of 177.253 mph. Joining the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford on the front row for Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola was Cole Whitt (177.092) with Danica Patrick (177.012) taking third.
Austin Dillon was declared the pole-winner at the conclusion of qualifying, but the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet failed inspection and his time was disallowed.