SONOMA, CA (June 22, 2012) – NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series teams traveled to northern California for the first road course race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. The 1.99-mile course is one that challenges drivers and teams as they are challenged with keeping their car on the course while also fighting for position in the tight turns and narrow straightaways. Roush Fenway Racing’s Matt Kenseth entered the weekend eager to get a solid performance under his belt and earned the ninth starting position for Sunday’s race.
The Sprint Cup Series had one 90-minute practice session on Friday afternoon. Kenseth and his No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Fusion team focused on both race trim and qualifying trim as they worked to see how their car handled in both set-ups. Kenseth finished the first practice of the weekend 20th on the speed charts, as the team went to work to making a few more changes before the qualifying session later that afternoon.
Qualifying for the series began at 3:40pm PST and Kenseth was the 25th car to take to the track for his qualifying effort. Kenseth posted a fast lap time of 75.790 seconds (94.524 mph) in his No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Fusion which earned him the ninth starting spot for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.
“It surprised me a little, I thought they were pulling my chain,” said Kenseth following his lap. “It was a pretty good lap. We didn’t get a very fast couple of mock-up runs, and we made some adjustments that got me a little tighter where I could get rolling better and got a pretty clean lap out of it. This is one of those places that has been really tough for me. We took off in practice and I was happy with how my car drove. It feels good, or better than anything I have had here before, but until we get through practice tomorrow and see if it is a tire combination you never know, but I like how my car has driven so far this weekend.”
The Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma will be televised on Sunday, June 24th starting at 2:00pm EST on TNT, with radio coverage presented by the Performance Racing Network (PRN).