NASCAR »

Kenseth breaks record at Darlington

On a 'green' racetrack washed by a hard afternoon rain, Matt Kenseth laid down the best qualifying lap in the history of Darlington Raceway.

Touring the 1.366-mile egg-shaped circuit in 27.394 seconds (179.514 mph), Kenseth won the pole for Saturday night's Southern 500, edging Jeff Gordon (178.861 mph) by a tenth of a second in a session that saw three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Jimmie Johnson wreck in turn two on his first lap.

Ryan Newman (178.757 mph) qualified third, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. (178.744 mph) and rookie Joey Logano (178.549 mph).

In winning his fourth career pole and his first since October 2005 at Kansas Speedway, Kenseth erased the mark of Roush Fenway Racing team-mate Greg Biffle, who qualified at 179.442 mph in May of last year.

"It was a great lap for us," said Kenseth, who won the first two races of the season but since has fallen to twelfth in the Cup standings. "We've had a lot of speed in our car all day, for some reason, which has been real encouraging. We made a lot of changes on our car today, and we've been able to make it work, been able to make it better.

"I didn't really think that we had a serious shot at the pole, but our car was driving really good, and actually, for once when it quit raining, I was glad we had a chance to qualify today."

Kenseth said the track didn't change as much after the rain as he thought it might.

"The track today in general rubbered in (from tyre wear during practice) a lot more than I thought it would," Kenseth said. "It turned really dark, and the more it would rubber in, the more grip it got and the better it felt… I thought after the rain that would all be washed away, and surprisingly, there was still a lot of rubber in the track."

Johnson spun in turn two and backed into the wall, knocking the rear wing off his #48 Chevrolet. His car then slid down the track and nosed into the inside wall. Johnson will start Saturday night's race from the 42nd position in a backup car.

Rookie Scott Speed, who crashed during practice and made his qualifying run in a backup car, failed to make the race. Jeremy Mayfield likewise failed to make the 43-car field.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Matt Kenseth secures pole at Darlington [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered and yellow flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 under caution at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, pose with the Daytona 500 Pole Award and Front Row Award after qualifying for the pole position and front row for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Chevrolet, Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, talks to Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(L-R) Amy Reimann celebrates with Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, in victory lane after Earnhardt won the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 8, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 8, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.