Last night, Tony Stewart won the pole for the Bank of America 500, but one can not overlook the performance the ‘Roushkateers’ had in their qualifying efforts.
Matt Kenseth qualified second on the speed charts, which says a lot for a driver who does not qualify great on a regular basis.
“It was a good lap for us. I didn’t feel like qualifying practice we were really that great. I didn’t think we really had it and today was the first time in a long time we worked on qualifying for the whole hour-and-a-half,” said a happy Kenseth after his qualifying session.
Kenseth reminds of a lot of legendary NASCAR driver, David Pearson. Pearson was known for his poor qualifying efforts that forced him to start in the back of the pack, amazingly enough, Pearson would always sneak up through the field and be in the right place at the right time to claim the winners trophy. Does this sound eerily familiar?
Going with Kenseth Saturday night might be a smart decision. When he does qualify well, he usually stays in the top-five or top-10 in the running order all-night long.
Carl Edwards also had a great qualifying run Thursday evening. Edwards qualified his No. 99 Aflac third, just behind teammate Kenseth.
Carl was pretty happy with his qualifying efforts, “I feel really good. If I would have known how good we were down the back straightaway I would have gone a little easier through three and four, but that’s really neat. We were talking about that up in the hauler how it’s nice to be disappointed with third-place in qualifying.”
These two drivers were dominant in the Coca-Cola 600 last May, as Kenseth led 103 laps (finished P14) and Edwards led 61 laps (finished P16).
These two finishes did not tell the whole story, as the Coca-Cola 600 quickly turned into a fuel mileage race as many fans might recall- Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost the lead on the final lap to Kevin Harvick (ran out of gas).
But there is more to be happy about if you are a Roush Fenway Racing fan. Greg Biffle qualified fifth Thursday, something that has even him optimistic.
“It’s a great spot, but you want to do the best for your team and they gave me a great car. Gosh, I look at three-thousandths of a second off the pole and think of where I could have done a little better at. It was a real good lap and I’m really happy with it,” said Biffle.
David Ragan fell just short of making a top-10 start for Saturday night, as he qualified his No. 6 UPS Ford 11th in the starting lineup.
“Our UPS Ford was pretty good in practice. We made a few small adjustments and would have liked to have gone a little bit more. I wish I could do it all over again, but our car is really fast here at Charlotte and we were afraid to really do too much. Hopefully, that will wind up in the top 10 or so and we’ll have a great car for Saturday,” said Ragan.
Ragan later went on to say, ““I love racing on Saturday night and wish there were more Chase races on Saturday. I think you have a lot of fun. The atmosphere is great. The cars look cool under the lights, so I absolutely like the night racing. Night qualifying is different and it’s fun for the fans and fun for us, too.”
But can Ragan win?
“Absolutely. We finished second here in the spring, so I think we’ve got a car that can win if given the right circumstances. We’ve got to make the right moves and have a good, clean night, but we can absolutely win and wouldn’t be surprised.”
Needless to say, the Roushkateers will be in full force Saturday night, as they have the potential to ‘steal’ the show under the lights at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.