Matt Kenseth Wins the Pole for the Auto Club 400 at Fontana

Kenseth conquered Knockout Qualifying and drove his No. 20 Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to first place at Auto Club Speedway, earning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coors Light Pole Award with a speed of 187.315 mph. It was his 12th career pole and his first pole at this track.

When asked the importance of track position, Kenseth responded by saying, “Track position is important everywhere. This is probably one of the best tracks we go to though, as far as passing.” He continued saying, “There’s a lot of options here, this place is really wide. It’s very challenging as a driver but very fun as well.”

His car was consistently fast all day in practice and qualifying. Kenseth was scored fourth quickest in the first elimination round, second in the next round and captured the top qualifying spot in the final round.

Notable drivers that did not advance to the second round include McMurray, Kahne and Danica Patrick who qualified 25th, 26th and 27th. Those not advancing to the final round include Denny Hamlin (13), Kyle Busch (14), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15), Ryan Newman (16) and Kurt Busch (17).

Brad Keselowski will start on the outside pole for the Auto Club 400, his fourth consecutive start on the front row.

“We’ve got a lot of great momentum going,” he said, “so we’ve got to keep it up. Obviously qualifying up front is always fun and always a great start to the weekend. But there’s more to be done in the race.”

Jimmie Johnson, Harvick, Bowyer, Gordon and Logano will begin in positions three through seven respectively. Rounding out the top twelve are Marcos Ambrose, Edwards, Stewart, rookie Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.

The Auto Club 400 race will consist of 200 laps/400 miles. It will be televised on FOX with race coverage beginning Sunday at 3:00 pm. The green flag is scheduled to drop at approximately 3:18 pm.

The complete starting lineup for the Auto Club 400:

Position No. Driver Sponsor
1 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota
2 2 Brad Keselowski Wurth Ford
3 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Spring is Calling Chevrolet
4 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s Chevrolet
5 15 Clint Bowyer PEAK Toyota
6 24 Jeff Gordon Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet
7 22 Joey Logano AAA Southern California Ford
8 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
9 99 Carl Edwards Subway Ford
10 14 Tony Stewart Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
11 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet
12 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet
13 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
14 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota
15 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
16 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet
17 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet
18 47 AJ Allmendinger Charter Chevrolet
19 55 Brian Vickers’s Toyota
20 3 Austin Dillon # Cheerios Chevrolet
21 43 Aric Almirola Farmland Ford
22 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford EcoBoost Ford
23 7 Michael Annett # Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet
24 16 Greg Biffle 3M Aerospace Ford
25 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet
26 5 Kasey Kahne Time Warner Cable Chevrolet
27 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy/Get Found Chevrolet
28 51 Justin Allgaier # Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet
29 38 David Gilliland Love’s Travel Stops Ford
30 27 Matt Crafton (i) Duracell/Menards Chevrolet
31 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet
32 30 Parker Kligerman # Swan Energy Toyota
33 35 David Reutimann MDS Transport Ford
34 26 Cole Whitt # Swan Energy Toyota
35 32 Travis Kvapil SK Hand Tools Ford
36 36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet
37 33 Brian Scott (i) Whitetail Chevrolet
38 98 Josh Wise Trench Shoring Company Chevrolet
39 23 Alex Bowman # Dr.Pepper Toyota
40 83 Ryan Truex # Borla Exhaust Toyota
41 34 David Ragan Taco Bell Ford
42 66 Joe Nemechek (i) Land Castle Title Toyota
43 40 Landon Cassill (i) CRC Brakleen/FiberLock Chevrolet


#  Rookie

(i) Ineligible for Driver Points

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Angie Campbell
Angie Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


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