FONTANA, CA. – Matt Kenseth took the Coors Light Pole Award for the 18th annual Auto Club 400 with a lap of 38.438 seconds (187.315 mph) on Friday during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.
Kenseth, who now has 12 poles in 513 career attempts and had never finished on the pole in 22 races at ACS, edged ahead of Brad Keselowski and five-time Fontana winner Jimmie Johnson for the top spot in Sunday’s 400 mile, 200-lap race under NASCAR's new qualifying format.
Kenseth has won three times at Fontana, most recently in 2009
It was the fourth consecutive front-row start for Keselowski, who won in Las Vegas two weeks ago.
Kevin Harvick was fourth followed by Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano.
Just one year ago, Logano was involved in a remarkable finish at the ACS before crashing with Denny Hamlin on the final lap. Hamlin finished 13th on Friday.
The rest of the top 12 included Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. Larson (11th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
Defending race champion Kyle Busch, who earlier in the day was enshrined in the Walk of Fame, was 14th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 15th.