Kenseth takes pole, Stewart sets new track record at Texas

Fort Worth, TX ( – Matt Kenseth won the pole for the AAA
Texas 500 by the slimmest of margins over Jeff Gordon, while Tony Stewart set
a new track qualifying record with a lap at 200 mph during Friday’s qualifying
at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kenseth, who is one of the eight drivers remaining in the Chase for the Sprint
Cup championship, turned a lap at 199.299 mph during the third and final round
of knockout qualifying. He beat Gordon for the pole by only one-thousandth of
a second. Gordon posted his lap at 199.291 mph.

It was Kenseth’s second pole of the season and the 13th of his Sprint Cup
Series career. He also claimed his first pole win in 25 starts at this 1.5-
mile racetrack.

Kenseth, who is currently fourth in the Chase point standings, has yet to win
a race in the series this season. He has two victories at Texas (spring events
in 2002 and ’11).

Sunday’s 500-mile race is the second event in the Eliminator Round. After next
weekend’s race at Phoenix, the four-driver field for the Nov. 16 season-ending
and championship event will be determined.

Gordon finished second last Sunday at Martinsville and took over the points
lead. He holds a three-point advantage over Ryan Newman, who will start
seventh at Texas.

Jimmie Johnson, who won last year’s Chase race here, qualified third, followed
by Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Stewart. Harvick is a title contender but is
eighth in points following his 33rd-place finish at Martinsville.

During the second round of qualifying, Stewart made a lap at 200.111 mph,
which broke the previous track record of 198.282 mph, set by Harvick in April.

It was the first 200 mph qualifying lap at a 1.5-mile track in series history.

Finishing eighth through 12th in the last qualifying round were: Martin Truex
Jr., Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won at

Logano and Edwards are in the Chase. Logano won this year’s spring race at

The other championship-eligible drivers and their starting positions are Denny
Hamlin (20th) and Brad Keselowski (26th).

Keselowski had his worst qualifying finish at a track other than a restrictor-
plate track this season. He is seventh in points after his 31st-place run at

All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field.