BROOKLYN, Mich. — Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota aggregation woke a sleeping behemothic aloof in time for condoning for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series chase (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Michigan International Speedway.
But Kenseth jokingly accustomed a hawkeye night — brought on by anguish over assistant Denny Hamlin’s abridgement of punctuality — for his pole-winning accomplishment in Friday’s time trials at the 2-mile track.
MORE: Chase standings branch into Michigan | Betting preview: JGR dialed in at Michigan | Chase info, TV listings
Getting the best out of the high-drag aerodynamic amalgamation in force at the accident at Michigan, Kenseth covered the ambit in 36.458 abnormal (197.488 mph) to win his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his aboriginal at MIS and the 16th of his career.
Hamlin (196.990 mph) was additional fastest, and Carl Edwards (196.276 mph) claimed the third starting spot, as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three positions on the filigree for the 23rd Sprint Cup chase of the season.
Austin Dillon (195.918 mph) able fourth as the top Chevrolet in the field, followed by Tony Stewart (195.477 mph) in a Chevrolet and Kyle Busch (195.450 mph) in the fourth JGR Toyota. Joey Logano, aftermost week’s champ at Watkins Glen, able 10th as the alone Ford disciplinarian to able the top 12.
Based on convenance speed, Edwards was a admired to win the pole, but Kenseth, who was 10th on the acceleration blueprint in the aperture convenance session, bankrupt the gap in time from qualifying.
“We were a continued means off Carl in practice, and I don’t alike apperceive what changes they made, but they afflicted a lot of being that absolutely woke this affair up and had some speed,” Kenseth said. “I knew I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 good, but Denny put up such a fast lap, and I got into (Turn) 3, and I was apprenticed and bent that I was activity to accomplish it advanced open.
“I had the aboriginal bisected of the corner. It was the additional bisected that was starting to get exciting. I got sliding up the clue and bogged bottomward a little bit. I wasn’t abiding that we were activity accept it, but I accept to say acknowledgment to those guys (the crew). They gave me a car with a lot of speed.”
In Hamlin’s view, Busch’s acknowledgment from an abrasion has accomplished a analytical accumulation of four talented, adept drivers at JGR who can account from anniversary other’s expertise.
“When you accept drivers that you can augment off of, like the three teammates that I have, it makes a difference, and so that’s area you’re seeing the results,” Hamlin said.
That didn’t anticipate the disciplinarian of the No. 11 Toyota Camry from throwing a affront against the 43-year-old assistant who exhausted him for the pole.
“Matt was apparently too old to bethink to lift there,” Hamlin said of Kenseth’s condoning run.
Kenseth provided a altered perspective.
“I could say it’s because I didn’t get abundant sleep,” Kenseth said. “I flew up with Denny today, and he brand to appear to aggregate at the aftermost minute. I didn’t beddy-bye aftermost night cerebration that we weren’t activity to accomplish it up here, so it’s absolutely aloof for abridgement of sleep. I get to acclaim Denny for the pole.”
Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Logano completed the top 10. Reed Sorenson bootless to accomplish the 43-car field.
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