Daytona Beach, FL (July 6, 2012) – Roush Fenway Racing and the Roush-Yates engines have become synonymous with horsepower and speed at restrictor plate tracks like Daytona International Speedway. For Matt Kenseth, he returned to the 2.5-mile track fresh off a Daytona 500 victory the last time he was in town, and the Zest team was once again in search of another great performance from their No. 17 Ford. Kenseth earned his first pole award of the 2012 season claiming the lead position for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.
Sprint Cup Series teams had two practice sessions Thursday afternoon. Kenseth and his team spent the first practice working on race trim as well as qualifying set-ups, and then opted to only make one run during the final practice session. Kenseth was happy with his car overall during practice and said that it drove very similar to his Daytona 500 car back in February.
Qualifying for the series took place on Saturday afternoon and began at 4:10pm EST. Kenseth and the Zest Ford went out 31st and posted a fast lap of 46.781 seconds (192.386 mph) and placed him on the provisional pole with 13 cars remaining. Kenseth went on to stay atop the speed charts, earning his first pole of the season. Kenseth will look to be the first driver in 30 years to win both races at Daytona in one season since Bobby Allison.
“Our lap was obviously a good one,” commented Kenseth after his qualifying effort. “I had very little to do with it, since qualifying at the speedway races is all about the car and the engine. Those guys did a spectacular job at Roush all year long really in preparing our speedway cars. They’ve been really fast and Doug Yates and the guys at the engine shop have done a super job on the engines with the new fuel injection. The plate engines have run really well and had us competitive at both speedway races so far this year.”
The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway will be televised on Saturday, July 7th starting at 6:30pm EST on TNT, with radio coverage presented by the Motor Racing Network (MRN).