It only took Matt Kenseth one week to get Roush/Fenway Racing back up to speed. Well, maybe it was part restrictor plate too. Nevertheless, Kenseth earned the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (6 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) in the unique qualifying round run on a soggy Friday afternoon at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Drivers have to complete three laps and add a four-tire stop with no pit road speed limit in the session, as Kenseth did it best with a total time of 2:07.644 at an average speed of 126.915 mph in his No. 6 Ford. Kenseth, came back last weekend in Kansas as he will share the ride with Trevor Bayne in 2018 in efforts to help RFR get back on track. He is eligible to run the All-Star race due to his win in the prestigious event in 2004 as well as winning the 2003 championship.
His efforts are paying off as RFR locked out the front row for the $1-million event.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will roll off second in his No. 17 Ford with an average speed of 126.427 mph. While it could be said that this was all due to Kenseth, we’d be remised to not give credit to the new package too. This weekend, NASCAR is experimenting with a restrictor plate package. That package has suited RFR over the last few years. Stenhouse won two of the four points paying plate races in 2017.
Two more Fords will share Row 2 with Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick starting third and fourth respectively. Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. will start fifth while Ryan Blaney gives Ford five of the top six starting spots with him rolling off on the Outside of Row 3.
Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race Starting Lineup
Row 1: Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 2: Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick
Row 3: Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney
Row 4: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski
Row 5: Austin Dillon, Joey Logano
Row 6: Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray
Row 7: Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin
Row 8: Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson
Row 9: Kasey Kahne