With zero laps in practice, Kenseth put it on the pole for the NASCAR All-Star Race
Matt Kenseth didn’t turn a single lap in practice on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite that, he jumped on the track for multi-lap qualifying and took to the pole position for the 2018 NASCAR All-Star Race.
On tap this weekend is a new restrictor plate package. The lap times were 170.406 in the shortened practice session on Friday. That’s down 20 mph on average lap speed from the August trip to Charlotte.
On top of that, there’s aero ducts, a big front splitter, a big rear spoiler, new tires and new format. All of those things are designed to completely change the racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway for this weekend
I think pack racing is the goal. And I also think they’ll get that but probably not in the sense of Daytona pack racing. It will be different for sure. However, with zero practice laps, nobody really knows what to expect.
Despite all the unknowns, Matt Kenseth put the car on the pole! He forfeited qualifying in his debut last weekend at Kansas Speedway. Technically, this was his first pole run since coming out of retirement, he won.
“I’m glad we had a decent day today. We didn’t really do much. But, what we did do, was good,” Matt Kenseth stated from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s always good to start up front no matter what the racing’s like and no matter where you’re at. It’s neat to win the pole. Especially here when you got all the rest of this stuff involved.”
Last week, Matt Kenseth made his first start since November 2017. However, he started at the back due to a missed qualifying attempt. He then went off with a DNF after sliding into a crash.
“Kansas was… First of all, it’s last weekend. It’s behind us. We’ll try to look at that and learn what we can do better. There’s a lot of it I realize that’s gonna be a work in progress.”
“Some things are gonna take some time and some patience and all that. Kansas was just a mess from start to finish, honestly. There wasn’t much that came out of that weekend for a positive.”
“It’s nice to come here and everyone be on their game today.”
Does Matt Kenseth expect to learn anything about the car this weekend? Jack Roush pulled him back into the seat to help sort problems with his machines. Is this weekend a scratch for that project?
“There’s a few car things that I think you can still learn. Ride quality, those types of things.”
“It’s probably going to be a different type of race. But, I think we need to get some momentum. We need to get some continuity and kinda rolling.”
“These first 5 weeks, I think all of them are really important. They’re all different types of race tracks.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr ran 4 laps in practice. Those notes are all that Kenseth had to go on when he took the green for his qualifying run. At the same time, Kenseth couldn’t find his spotter when he run was set to begin. Instead, he borrowed Stenhouse’s spotter.
“I think it’s neat to have both cars on the front row. We only have two cars coming out of the shop right now. On qualifying day, you want to put the cars on the front row.”
“Especially when you’re that small. It’s like one big team. I think it’s so much easier to work together. Kinda share common goals and not be selfish.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr was trying to short cut the corner in his run. He was unaware of the manhole cover. He launched into the air, prevented wheels from doing their job but still put it on the outside row.
Roush Fenway Racing locked out the front row for the NASCAR All-Star Race.
2018 NASCAR All-Star Race
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Martin Truex Jr
6. Ryan Blaney
7. Kyle Busch
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Austin Dillon
10. Joey Logano
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Jamie McMurray
13. Ryan Newman
14. Denny Hamlin
15. Kurt Busch
16. Kyle Larson
17. Kasey Kahne