Kenseth Phoenix Pole Winner

Matt Kenseth

Kenseth turned a lap of 137.101 mph in his Crown Royal Ford to claim the top spot for the second to last race of the Sprint Cup Series season. (Photo: Getty Images)


AVONDALE, Ariz. - Matt Kenseth just missed setting a new track record on his way to winning the pole for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kenseth turned a lap of 137.101 mph in his Crown Royal Ford to claim the top spot for the second to last race of the Sprint Cup Series season. It was the seventh pole of the Roush Fenway Racing driver's Sprint Cup career and third this season. The effort was short of the track's qualifying mark of 137.279 mph.

"We felt good in practice about things but obviously it's slick out there," Kenseth said. "I'm not sure how this will be tomorrow with the weather changes they're talking about and it being cooler and cloudier than it was today with the sun beating down on the surface. It's definitely gonna be a little on the unknown side that's for sure.

"We watched everybody else and a lot of people were low on grip. I really didn't get all there was to get out of the car, it was that good."

AJ Allmendinger made it an all-Ford front row as he recorded the second fastest lap of the session at 136.446 mph.

Marcos Ambrose, Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the first five qualifiers.

Jamie McMurray and David Reutimann were sixth and seventh, respectively, with Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards eighth and ninth.

"Yeh it's different that's for sure," said Stewart, who will start on the outside of row four, which given the track's new surface and reconfiguration may be a concern because of the lack of grip drivers have found this weekend outside the racing groove. "We're going to be fighting for the bottom of the track all day."

Edwards also isn't sure what will transpire over the course of the race because of the unknown conditions.

"To me this is, from the driver’s seat, it feels like a brand new race track, a completely different track," said Edwards. "It is not something that you come here and rely on your stats from previous Phoenix races and say that a guy is going to be good or another guy is going to be good. I think the track is that different"

Kasey Kahne completed the top 10.

Scott Riggs, David Stremme and Andy Lally failed to make Sunday's race.

Motor Racing Network's live coverage of Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 will begin at 2 p.m. (ET).

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