Ford cars have locked out the first two rows in qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the Roush Fenway Racing car of Matt Kenseth taking pole. His teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle sit on the second row in third and fourth spots. Marcos Ambrose is the interloper in second place in his Richard Petty Motorsports car, also powered by a Roush Fenway motor.
The fourth of the Roush Fenway team cars, David Regan, also had a fast car and expected to be starting from the front but spun his car on the green flag lap, failing to post a time and so finds himself back in 42nd place, having a guaranteed start with owners points.
Ambrose’s RPM teammate, A J Allmendinger qualified seventh behind the Joe Gibbs Racing cars of Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr. and Mark Martin round out the top ten.
Mark Martin was the best of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson on the seventh row with 13th and 14th places and Dale Earnhardt Jr. back in 33rd.
Another team to have a less than stellar qualifying session was the Richard Childress Racing squad. For the second race in succession new boy Paul Menard has outqualified his more illustrious teammates in eighteenth place, three ahead of Jeff Burton whilst Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer are back in 26th and 28th places.
This is the first race of the year on a 1.5 mile circuit which is the most predominate type of track the NASCAR Series race on so should give some idea of what can be expected for the rest of the season. So far Ford have had a really strong start to the year with the first three places in the Daytona 500 and Edwards qualifying on pole at Phoenix and firmly believing he had a race winning car until Kyle Busch sent him into the wall. After a poor start to 2010 the Ford cars gained momentum as the season progressed finishing strongly with two wins for Edwards in the final two races. Sunday will determine if that momentum is going to stay with them through this season.
Kenseth’s pole position is his first since May 2009 when he headed the field at Darlington and is in stark contrast to last week’s qualifying effort of 24th place at Phoenix.
“Qualifying is not my strong suit, but I knew we had a really fast car today when we did our last qualifying run [in practice],” Kenseth said. “Honestly, this is the most nervous I’ve been before qualifying in probably five years at least, because I knew we had a shot at the pole, and I knew last week we really messed up. I didn’t want to mess up a fast car today, so I was really happy with that.”