KENSETH’S SURPRISE POLE

Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth

MATT KENSETH/No.17 Crown Royal Ford has the pole for Sunday’s 24th Annual Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. His lap was 26.258/137.101 mph. He said he “wasn’t expecting qualifying to be so difficult, so it felt good to be on the pole.” As for his chances in the race, he said “One lap qualifying is different than 300 laps. I need to run up front.” Kenseth played coy as to his choice for starting position – inside or outside. He’d tell us all Sunday.

Second and third fastest were the Petty drivers, A.J. ALLMENDINGER/No.43 WIX Filters Ford and MARCOS AMBROSE/No.9 DeWalt Ford. They each were on top for awhile. Allmendinger got unseated at the last minute by Kenseth, who was second to last to run.

Allmendinger said “That was insane. The track is way different than what we had yesterday, and the Wix Filters Ford was fast. Marcos put a good lap up and explained to us what the track was going to be like. The car was very loose out there. Even JIMMY JOHNSON/No.38 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet got loose. We tightened up the car after yesterday but it will wasn’t tight enough.”

Ambrose said “It felt horrible, treacherous and nasty. I hope the sun comes out. Sunday is going to be a handful, and a lot depends on the weather – it will make a big difference. I expected more grip, but with the cloudy weather, not so.”

A.J. ALLMENDINGER

A.J. ALLMENDINGER

Marcos Ambrose

Marcos Ambrose


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Rounding out the top five were MARK MARTIN/No.5 GoDaddy Chevrolet and MARTIN TRUEX Jr/No.56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota.

Points leader CARL EDWARDS/No.99 Aflac Ford will start ninth, right behind his closest challenger for the Championship – TONY STEWART/No.14 Mobile 1/Office Depot Chevrolet. They currently are three points apart, with two races remaining – PIR and Homestead.

Three cars failed to qualify – SCOTT RIGGS/No.23 North Texas Pipe Toyota, DAVID STREMME/No.30 Inception Motorsports Chevrolet, and ANDY LALLY/No.71 TRG Motorsports Ford.

Lally had lost his right front tire Friday after hitting the wall. The car was munched enough so the team had to haul out the backup car, which has not run much this year.

The team had to scramble to get the backup car ready for Qualifying. It wasn’t good enough and the right front tire blew, ending Lally’s chances. Lally is the only Rookie in the field.

TRG No.71 Ford primary car

TRG No.71 Ford primary car

Andy Lally

Andy Lally

Apple Logo for No.71 TRG Ford SchoolMedia.com

Apple Logo for No.71 TRG Ford SchoolMedia.com

Crew Chief Doug Richert with Andy Lally and crew

Crew Chief Doug Richert with Andy Lally and crew


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Lally comes from a sports car background, where he’s raced with Grand-Am in the Rolex Series as well as the Continental Tire Challenge Series – two races every weekend. He’s raced in every year in both series. Lally holds the honor of being the Grand-Am all time racing mileage leader with 34,032 miles. Lally also holds the record for the most miles led in a single season – 2006 with 3,682 miles. Adding up his total racing miles, it would equal one and a third trip around the world, or more than five US coast to coast round trips.

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