May 8, 2009

Kenseth wins pole at Darlington

Matt Kenseth set a track qualifying record Friday and won the pole for Saturday's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Kenseth, winner of the first two races on the NASCAR circuit this year, had a qualifying lap of 179.514 mph. He was the only driver to break the track record Greg Biffle set a year ago.

This car has had really good speed in it all day, Kenseth said. I didn't think we would ever be on the pole, but I felt good about how our car was driving.

It was Kenseth's fourth career pole, but his first in four years.

Jeff Gordon, who has won seven times at Darlington, will be on the outside of the first row after a qualifying time of 178.861 mph.

Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and rookie Joey Logano rounded out the top five.

Three-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson spun and slammed into the wall during his qualifying attempt. He will start from the back of the field in his backup car.