Joliet, IL. (September 15, 2012) – This weekend, Chicagoland Speedway hosts the first race of the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup with Sunday’s GEICO 400. For Roush Fenway Racing’s driver of the No. 17 Best Buy Ford, Matt Kenseth, the 1.5-mile track is the closest that Kenseth gets to his home state of Wisconsin as well, so he had several reasons for wanting a strong performance this weekend. Kenseth earned the pole for last year’s race which he looked to repeat, but he earned the third starting position for Sunday’s race as he and his team look forward to another solid run at Chicago.
Sprint Cup teams had two practice sessions on Friday afternoon as they prepared their race cars for Saturday’s qualifying session. During the first session, Kenseth and his team only worked on race trim since they wanted to go out earlier in the qualifying session on Saturday. During the second practice on Friday, the team worked on both race and qualifying trim which found Kenseth finishing eighth on the speed charts.
Qualifying for the series began at 12:40pm CST on Saturday afternoon, and Kenseth was the 16th car to make his qualifying effort in the Best Buy Ford. Kenseth posted a fast lap time of 29.616 seconds (182.334 mph) which placed him on the provisional pole at the time. After the remainder of the field had qualified, Kenseth ended up earning the third starting position for Sunday’s 267-lap event.
“We wanted to go out a little earlier in the day when we thought the track would be a little cooler,” commented Kenseth after his qualifying effort. “That was Jimmy’s (Fennig) strategy so we took advantage of that and got a decent lap and a good starting spot. I was happy from the aspect that I got everything we could get out of our Best Buy Ford for today. I think there is two or three-tenths out there if someone gets their balance just right. I thought it was good strategy by Jimmy to try to go fast in the second practice, not in the first one, to go out earlier although I don’t think there will be a big difference today. I feel like I got a good lap, but I think there is some more speed out there.”
The GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway will be televised on Sunday, September 16th at 1:00p.m. EST on ESPN, with radio coverage presented by the Motor Racing Network (MRN).