Keselowski leads Penske 1-2 in Kentucky qualifying

Brad Keselowski
Getty Images for NASCAR

With a new track record Friday at Kentucky Speedway, Brad Keselowski became the fourth different Coors Light Pole Award winner at the 1.5-mile speedway for tomorrow night’s Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.

With a lap of 28.603 seconds at 188.791 miles per hour, Keselowski in his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion knocked Team Penske teammate Joey Logano from the top-spot with under three minutes remaining in the final five-minute session. The previous track record held by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2013 at 183.636 miles per hour was beaten by 23 drivers.

Kentucky marks the Rochester Hills, Michigan native's third pole of the season. The 30-year old has already matched his career total coming into this season. Team Penske also recorded their third joint front-row start of the season. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion also won this event in his championship season after starting eighth.

Earlier Friday, Keselowski also recorded his 15th career pole in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

"The last few years we've been awful in qualifying, so ying and yang, it's balancing back out," said Keselowski. "It's a huge morale booster for us and we've got to make it count on race day. Qualifying is great, but on Monday nobody talks about who won the pole — they talk about who won the race. We want to be that guy."

Logano, who paced both the first and second knockout sessions respectively made a last minute effort to try and bump Keselowski, but came up nearly two-tenths short for his fourth second-place starting spot of the year.

"We won the first two sessions and I'm like, 'Man, isn't it going to rain?'" Logano said. "It didn't rain and we came in second. … We keep winning the wrong session."

Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon was third followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.

Gordon though despite starting from the inside of row-two, was extremely satisfied with his effort.

“Oh my gosh you never want to be satisfied unless you are on the pole or in Victory Lane, but this sort of feels like a victory for me because that first run was not pretty," said Gordon. "I don’t know the car just didn’t do what I wanted it to do. That was a pretty wild session for the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, but those last two or three runs were just so solid. That is a great place to start this race."

Kyle Larson was sixth ahead of Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard comprised the remainder of the top 12.

Team Penske ended the second session in reversal roles with Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson inside the top-five. In the first knock-out qualifying session, Joey Logano led the way ahead of Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray to close out the top-five. The intensity roared from near the bubble line, which shifted within the last couple minutes of the session.

Jimmie Johnson in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS went out late and bumped himself inside the top-24, but a rally by Carl Edwards knocked the reigning champion out. He’ll start 25th.

The other surprise?

Two-time 2014 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. only maneuvered the 29th quickest lap overall in his No. 88 Chevrolet SS after three runs.

No one failed to qualify for the seventeenth race of the season.

The Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts will air live on TNT tomorrow (Saturday) night, June 28 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Lineup

Pos CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 188.791 28.603 Leader
2 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 187.175 28.850 +0.247
3 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 186.832 28.903 +0.300
4 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 186.374 28.974 +0.371
5 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 186.104 29.016 +0.413
6 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target 186.034 29.027 +0.424
7 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Caterpillar 186.014 29.030 +0.427
8 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Lexar 185.957 29.039 +0.436
9 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Haas Automation 185.950 29.040 +0.437
10 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy 185.803 29.063 +0.460
11 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy 185.414 29.124 +0.521
12 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 185.096 29.174 +0.571
13 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Rush Truck Centers 185.854 29.055 +0.452
14 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General 185.714 29.077 +0.474
15 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Scott Products 185.503 29.110 +0.507
16 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Cheerios Protein 185.344 29.135 +0.532
17 55 Brian Vickers Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 185.096 29.174 +0.571
18 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 185.052 29.181 +0.578
19 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet Furniture Row 184.761 29.227 +0.624
20 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Great Clips 184.464 29.274 +0.671
21 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Fifth Third Bank Ford 184.307 29.299 +0.696
22 43 Aric Almirola Ford Eckrich 184.300 29.300 +0.697
23 99 Carl Edwards Ford UPS 184.106 29.331 +0.728
24 16 Greg Biffle Ford No. 16 3M ACE Bandage Ford Fusion 183.138 29.486 +0.883
25 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 183.661 29.402 +0.799
26 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 183.424 29.440 +0.837
27 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Black & Decker 183.163 29.482 +0.879
28 51 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet BRANDT Professional Agriculture 182.815 29.538 +0.935
29 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet National Guard 182.803 29.540 +0.937
30 26 Cole Whitt Toyota Speed Stick GEAR Toyota 182.778 29.544 +0.941
31 36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Theme Park Connection 181.916 29.684 +1.081
32 7 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet 181.464 29.758 +1.155
33 23 Alex Bowman Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry 181.287 29.787 +1.184
34 98 Josh Wise Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 181.196 29.802 +1.199
35 32 Travis Kvapil Ford CorvetteParts.net 180.421 29.930 +1.327
36 34 David Ragan Ford Taco Bell 179.700 30.050 +1.447
37 40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet SNap Fitness 179.348 30.109 +1.506
38 33 David Stremme Chevrolet Thunder Coal 178.672 30.223 +1.620
39 83 Ryan Truex Toyota Burger King Toyota Camry 178.406 30.268 +1.665
40 66 Joe Nemechek Toyota Vydox 178.065 30.326 +1.723
41 38 David Gilliland Ford Love's Travel Stops 176.800 30.543 +1.940
42 93 Mike Bliss Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry 171.385 31.508 +2.905

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