SPARTA, Kentucky (AP) — Brad Keselowski set a track record speed for claim pole position on Friday for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
Keselowski had a lap of 303.83 kph (188.791 mph) in the third knockout qualifying segment to take the pole for the 640-kilometer (400-mile race). Keselowski earned his third pole this season and the sixth of his career.
"I thought we were all going to be a lot slower, so I was a little bit surprised by the speeds that were ran," Keselowski said. "But (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) did a good job working on and adjusting the car and getting it to where I wanted it and they hit what I wanted."
A day in which 23 drivers broke Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s year-old track record in the first round of qualifying alone ended with the 2012 race winner Keselowki on top. He overtook Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, who had the fastest time in each of the first two qualifying sessions.
"I wouldn't say we're destroying them, I think a lot of it is in the cars, to be honest with you," said Logano, a two-time winner this season. "I feel like our cars have just been fast."
Points leader Jeff Gordon will start third in a Chevy, salvaging a day in which Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson (25th) and Earnhardt (29th) didn't survive the first round while Kasey Kahne (20th) was knocked out in the second.
Denny Hamlin was fourth in a Toyota.
Kevin Harvick will start fifth alongside rookie Kyle Larson in a Chevy, which claimed eight of the top 12 spots