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Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2017

Brad Keselowski won last year’s Kobalt 400 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This year, he’ll start the race atop the poll. 

Keselowski topped all qualifiers with a top time of 27.881, per NASCAR.com. It will be the first time he’s sat on the pole in nine tries at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to Joe Menzer of Fox Sports.

Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five. You can see the full qualifying times and race order below:

1 2 Brad Keselowski 27.881 193.680
2 78 Martin Truex Jr. 27.913 193.458
3 21 Ryan Blaney 27.920 193.410
4 20 Matt Kenseth 27.923 193.389
5 42 Kyle Larson 27.956 193.161
6 22 Joey Logano 27.959 193.140
7 5 Kasey Kahne 27.960 193.133
8 77 Erik Jones 28.071 192.369
9 18 Kyle Busch 28.072 192.362
10 1 Jamie McMurray 28.072 192.362
11 19 Daniel Suarez 28.130 191.966
12 24 Chase Elliott 28.266 191.042
13 14 Clint Bowyer 28.034 192.623
14 27 Paul Menard 28.062 192.431
15 11 Denny Hamlin 28.073 192.356
16 48 Jimmie Johnson 28.086 192.267
17 41 Kurt Busch 28.112 192.089
18 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 28.115 192.068
19 4 Kevin Harvick 28.169 191.700
20 6 Trevor Bayne 28.178 191.639
21 31 Ryan Newman 28.195 191.523
22 3 Austin Dillon 28.268 191.029
23 47 AJ Allmendinger 28.326 190.638
24 13 Ty Dillon 28.592 188.864
25 37 Chris Buescher 28.336 190.570
26 95 Michael McDowell 28.361 190.402
27 34 Landon Cassill 28.390 190.208
28 10 Danica Patrick 28.428 189.954
29 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 28.488 189.553
30 43 Aric Almirola 28.511 189.401
31 32 Matt DiBenedetto 28.752 187.813
32 38 David Ragan 28.921 186.716
33 72 Cole Whitt 29.071 185.752
34 83 Corey LaJoie 29.102 185.554
35 23 Gray Gaulding 29.188 185.008
36 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt 29.569 182.624
37 15 Reed Sorenson 29.950 180.301
38 55 Derrike Cope 30.428 177.468
39 51 Timmy Hill 30.879 174.876
Source: NASCAR.com

While much of the field was strong in the first two turns on the track before, Keselowski was exactly the opposite, which even surprised him somewhat after the race.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” he told Reid Spencer of NASCAR.com. “I’ll have to look through a bunch of data, and the smart guys —the engineers and crew chiefs—will probably point some of that stuff out to me. But, yeah, every time I looked at the tracker, the cars that were fast in one and two weren’t in three and four, and we were the opposite. We were really good in three and four…but we’ll take it either way.”

You can see his performance below, via Fox Sports NASCAR:


It’s certainly been a good week for Keselowski, as XFINITY RACING noted:


Like Keselowski, Truex had more success on his approach to the latter turns in qualification. And like Keselowski, he was a bit surprised by that fact.

“All in all, I felt like we just missed the pace a little bit,” he told Spencer. “We were really strong in practice and thought (the track) would pick up quite a bit of speed tonight, and it didn’t. That threw us a little bit of a curve and kind of hurt our setup. It was a good recovery. We made a lot of changes as qualifying went on and got better at the end. That’s all you can ask for.”

Truex and Keselowski had the fastest cars in practice, so Friday’s result didn’t come as a major surprise.

One footnote, however: Erik Jones, Truex and Kasey Kahne were all been penalized 15 minutes of Saturday practice time for pre-qualifying inspection violations, according to Menzer. Jones also lost his pit selection for Sunday’s race.

The Kobalt 400 will take place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox. 



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