Chris Trotman/Getty Images
March 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:
|2||78||Martin Truex Jr.||27.913||193.458|
|18||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||28.115||192.068|
|29||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||28.488||189.553|
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:
FOX SPORTS: NASCAR @NASCARONFOX
Watch: Brad @Keselowski builds on the @FordPerformance momentum with a pole award at @LVMotorSpeedway. #NASCAR https://t.co/ssBeocBBHJ https://t.co/4MsSoCeEYK
3/11/2017, 2:03:53 AM
It’s certainly been a good week for Keselowski, as XFINITY RACING noted:
XFINITY Racing @XFINITYRacing
Things keep coming up @keselowski this week.
1st a win in Atlanta, now a pole in Vegas. https://t.co/YBHNrmKiK5
3/11/2017, 1:59:29 AM
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.