“I had a plan going into qualifying, stuck to it and it worked,” said Brad Keselowski after claiming pole position at Loudon on Friday with a new track record of 28.515 seconds.
The New Hampshire track is considered to be one where it can be difficult to overtake so a good starting position is important if not essential here. Clint Bowyer, one of the twelve drivers in The Chase for the Championship must have thought he had the number one position sewn up with his own record breaking run of 28.538 but Keselowski's lap in the AAA Penske Dodge just as the sun broke through the cloud cover eased the driver of the number 33 car into the number two slot.
Tony Stewart in the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, another Chase driver took third in the line-up alongside Jamie McMurray in the McDonald's Chevy. The next two rows consist of, in order, Montoya, Allmendinger, Reutimann and Menard and you have to look to row five for the next Chase drivers, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.Of the other eight Chase drivers Kurt Busch in the Miller Lite Dodge was twelfth, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle occupy row seven, Jeff Gordon row nine, the number one seeded Denny Hamlin in the FedEx Toyota is back on row eleven, Jimmie Johnson has his worst ever starting position at Loudon in 25th place, with Kevin Harvick in the Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet two spots further back and the Crown Royal Ford of Matt Kenseth in a lowly 33rd.
Kurt Busch was penalised one set of tyres for Saturday practice and forced to miss fifteen minutes of it for swapping one set of tyres with the Gunselman Motorsports team – a practice allowed between teams which run just the one car but, according to NASCAR, not done it the approved manner on this occasion, i.e., through Goodyear.