Brad Keselowski tops Kyle Busch for New Hampshire pole

Brad Keselowski added a missing element to his strong 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season, winning the pole for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire.

Brad Keselowski tops Kyle Busch for New Hampshire pole

Keselowski has three wins already this season but had yet to win a pole. He filled in that blank on Friday using an average lap speed of 136.384 mph to claim the top starting position for Sunday’s Foxwoods Casino 301.

Last week’s race winner, Kurt Busch, was the last car to qualify and appeared to have a chance to topple Keselowski but slotted in third (136.238 mph) when he completed the second of his two laps.

Kyle Busch ended up second (136.311 mph). Erik Jones was fourth and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five.

The pole is the 15th of Keselowski’s career and his fourth at New Hampshire, with the most recent coming in 2014, the same year as his only victory at the track.

“This definitely surprised me. It’s been a while since we’ve had a pole,” Keselowski said. “We’ve had really good cars but haven’t been able to make the most of it with the driver in qualifying, so it’s nice to get one here in Loudon.

“It would feel really good if this race was still in the playoffs in the fall but we’ll take it and be happy with it and see what we have in the race. Nobody really knows what they have in the race because of the way practices are the PJ1 (traction compound) on the track changes every time you go out.”

Asked how big track position will be on Sunday, Keselowski said: “The first pit stall will be huge for sure. This track on pit road has a lot of chaos. I’m not saying you can’t wreck in pit stall No. 1, but it’s a little harder there and it certainly makes life a lot easier for your pit crew.”

Rounding out the top-10 starters are Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson.

Early in the qualifying session, smoke came pouring out of Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet during his qualifying warm-up lap and dropped his drive shaft on the track.

 

“Something broke obviously. There’s oil everywhere, so probably ripped out some oil lines on its way out,” Bowman said. “Just cruising down the straightaway at 150 mph and something exploded next to me. It’s a bummer.”

A transmission engine change will mean Bowman will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin are also starting from the rear after each wrecked in practice and had to move to a backup car.

The No. 8 Chevrolet of Daniel Hemric failed pre-qualifying inspection three times and as a result had his car chief ejected from the track for the remainder of the weekend.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 27.927   136.384
2 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 27.942 0.015 136.311
3 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 27.957 0.030 136.238
4 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 27.967 0.040 136.189
5 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 27.982 0.055 136.116
6 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 27.989 0.062 136.082
7 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 28.008 0.081 135.990
8 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 28.028 0.101 135.893
9 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 28.030 0.103 135.883
10 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 28.038 0.111 135.844
11 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 28.063 0.136 135.723
12 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 28.066 0.139 135.709
13 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 28.087 0.160 135.607
14 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 28.110 0.183 135.496
15 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 28.131 0.204 135.395
16 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 28.164 0.237 135.236
17 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 28.302 0.375 134.577
18 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 28.303 0.376 134.572
19 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 28.307 0.380 134.553
20 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 28.332 0.405 134.435
21 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 28.367 0.440 134.269
22 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 28.400 0.473 134.113
23 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 28.432 0.505 133.962
24 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 28.437 0.510 133.938
25 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 28.525 0.598 133.525
26 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 28.597 0.670 133.189
27 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 28.618 0.691 133.091
28 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 28.633 0.706 133.021
29 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 28.655 0.728 132.919
30 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 28.674 0.747 132.831
31 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 28.848 0.921 132.030
32 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 29.116 1.189 130.815
33 27 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 29.405 1.478 129.529
34 77 United States Quin Houff  Chevrolet 29.561 1.634 128.845
35 51 United States Andy Seuss  Ford 29.669 1.742 128.376
36 52 United States Austin Theriault  Chevrolet 30.874 2.947 123.366
37 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet
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Series NASCAR Cup
Event Loudon
Author Jim Utter
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