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Keselowski nabs first pole as Chase begins in NH

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Friday, September 17, 2010

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Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole turning a lap of 133.572 mph to grand the top spot for Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Keselowski was one of six non-Chase competitors to crack the top ten in Friday's session to set the field for Sunday’s championship season kick-off at the one-mile track.

Keselowski broke Juan Montoya's year-old qualifying record with a lap of 133.572 mph Friday to earn the top starting spot Sunday. The Penske Racing driver nudged championship contenders Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart, who qualified second and third for the first event in the 10-race Chase.

"It's been a tumultuous season to be sure but this is a great run and hopefully will set the tone for us the rest of this season on the Sprint Cup side," said Keselowski, who holds a commanding lead in the Nationwide Series but failed to make the Chase in his Sprint Cup Series effort.

"I would love to be the spoiler of the Chase," Keselowski said. "Our guys work so hard and I think we can really be a part of these last 10 races of the season."

Keselowski, mired in a rough first season at NASCAR's top level, is ranked 26th in the standings and not eligible to race for the title. Only the top 12 drivers race for the championship.

"I would love to be the spoiler of the Chase," Keselowski said. "I would live for that moment."

On Sunday, though, he'll have to do his best to not become part of the Chase storylines. A win would be fabulous for NASCAR's newest polarizing driver, but the aggressive driving he's become notorious for would best be held back when it comes to the championship contenders.

As is, the bulk of them will have a ton of work to do just trying to catch Keselowski.

Only four Chase drivers qualified inside the top 10. Bowyer and Stewart will line their Chevrolets up right around Keselowski's Dodge, while Kyle Busch will start ninth in a Toyota and Carl Edwards rolls out 10th in a Ford.

The rest are spread out across the field.

Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle grabbed the 12th through 14th positions, and Jeff Gordon qualified 17th. Denny Hamlin, the top seed in the Chase with a 60-point margin on half the field, qualified 22nd.

Four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson qualified a career-worst 25th.

Johnson has never started lower than 23rd at New Hampshire, and Friday's effort matched his lowest starting position of the season.

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske / AAA 133.572 28.515 Leader
2 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 133.464 28.538 -0.023
3 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 133.413 28.549 -0.034
4 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 133.389 28.554 -0.039
5 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Energizer 133.357 28.561 -0.046
6 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Insignia HDTV / Best Buy 133.273 28.579 -0.064
7 00 David Reutimann Toyota Tums 133.249 28.584 -0.069
8 98 Paul Menard Ford Sylvania / Menards 133.105 28.615 -0.100
9 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 133.096 28.617 -0.102
10 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 133.040 28.629 -0.114
11 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 132.970 28.644 -0.129
12 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 132.864 28.667 -0.152
13 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 132.711 28.700 -0.185
14 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 132.637 28.716 -0.201
15 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 132.540 28.737 -0.222
16 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 132.429 28.761 -0.246
17 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet National Guard Facebook / DuPont 132.310 28.787 -0.272
18 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 132.199 28.811 -0.296
19 19 Elliott Sadler Ford U.S. Air Force 132.167 28.818 -0.303
20 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 132.117 28.829 -0.314
21 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser 132.099 28.833 -0.318
22 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Small Business 132.094 28.834 -0.319
23 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Kingsford / Bush's Beans 132.085 28.836 -0.321
24 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 132.057 28.842 -0.327
25 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Johns Manville 131.993 28.856 -0.341
26 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 131.980 28.859 -0.344
27 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 131.884 28.880 -0.365
28 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 131.719 28.916 -0.401
29 7 Robby Gordon Toyota SpeedFactory.tv 131.615 28.939 -0.424
30 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Mohawk Northeast 131.533 28.957 -0.442
31 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 131.193 29.032 -0.517
32 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 131.139 29.044 -0.529
33 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 131.022 29.070 -0.555
34 164 Landon Cassill Toyota Gunselman Motorsports 130.837 29.111 -0.596
35 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota FrontRowJoe.com 130.676 29.147 -0.632
36 55 Mike Bliss Toyota Prism Motorsports 129.998 29.299 -0.784
37 83 Reed Sorenson Toyota Red Bull 129.825 29.338 -0.823
38 46 Michael McDowell Dodge Whitney Motorsports 129.525 29.406 -0.891
39 37 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 129.481 29.416 -0.901
40 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 129.204 29.479 -0.964
41 34 Tony Raines+ Ford A&W All American Food 128.754 29.582 -1.067
42 71 Andy Lally+ Chevrolet TRG Motorsports 128.680 29.599 -1.084
43 09 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Champion Prov. - -
Did Not Qualify
44 66 Johnny Sauter Toyota Prism Motorsports 128.811 29.569 -1.054
45 26 Jeff Green Ford Air National Guard 128.437 29.655 -1.140

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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