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2014 Auto Club 400: Kenseth takes Cup pole

Matt Kenseth picked up his first pole of the season at Auto Club Speedway
Matt Kenseth picked up his first pole of the season at Auto Club Speedway
NASCAR via Getty Images: Chris Trotman

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth earned his first pole of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season during knock-out qualifying at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, home of Sunday’s Auto Club 400. The driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry put down a fast lap of 187.315 mph (38.438 seconds) to beat out Brad Keselowski, who took the outside pole with a speed of 187.105 mph (38.481 seconds).

JGR drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch make up Row Seven in the qualifying field, with Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota qualifying 13th (185.323 mph/38.851 seconds) and Busch’s No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in 14th (185.314 mph/38.853 seconds).

The Auto Club 400 goes green at noon PT on Sunday.


Elliott Sadler claimed the pole for Saturday’s 300 at Auto Club Speedway, only 0.010-seconds quicker than Kenseth. Sadler’s No. 11 SportClips Toyota Camry qualified at a speed of 176.991 mph (40.680 seconds), while Kenseth’s No. 20 GameStop/Turtle Beach Toyota qualified at 176.948 mph (40.690 seconds). Kyle Busch’s No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota did not pass inspection, and will start 39th on the field.

JGR has won the last nine Nationwide Series races at Auto Club Speedway.

The 300 gets underway Saturday at 2 p.m. PT.

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