NASCAR Chicagoland 2011 Starting Lineup: Matt Kenseth Leads Qualifying For Chase Opener

Matt Kenseth isn't known for his qualifying efforts – which might tell you something about just how fast the Roush Fenway Racing driver is this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

Kenseth took the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Chase opener – his second No. 1 starting spot of the season, but just the sixth of his 12-year career.

"We had a pretty good lap there," Kenseth said. "For me to qualify this good, you know my car is fast."

The Wisconsin native said his team's qualifying setup allowed him to get through Chicagoland's bumps on the entry into Turn 3, but his race setup isn't quite as good and still needs work.

Kenseth's lap of 183.243 mph was ahead of Paul Menard (183.125 mph) and Chase drivers Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards.

"This is one checkmark out of 30," Busch said. "We have 10 practice sessions, 10 qualifying sessions and 10 race sessions. But that's not anywhere near as important as what we get done tomorrow. That's just one big checkmark."

Other Chase drivers: Kyle Busch will start ninth, Jimmie Johnson 12th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 19th, Jeff Gordon 23rd, Tony Stewart 26th, Denny Hamlin 27th and Kevin Harvick 30th.

Here's the NASCAR starting lineup for Sunday's Chicagoland race (Chase drivers in bold):

  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Paul Menard
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Ryan Newman
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Brian Vickers
  9. Kyle Busch
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Bobby Labonte
  12. Jimmie Johnson
  13. Regan Smith
  14. Jamie McMurray
  15. David Ragan
  16. Juan Pablo Montoya
  17. Marcos Ambrose
  18. AJ Allmendinger
  19. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  20. Martin Truex Jr.
  21. Clint Bowyer
  22. Jeff Burton
  23. Jeff Gordon
  24. Kasey Kahne
  25. Mark Martin
  26. Tony Stewart
  27. Denny Hamlin
  28. Trevor Bayne
  29. David Reutimann
  30. Kevin Harvick
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. JJ Yeley
  33. Michael McDowell
  34. David Stremme
  35. Scott Speed
  36. Joe Nemechek
  37. Robby Gordon
  38. Josh Wise
  39. David Gilliland
  40. Dave Blaney
  41. Andy Lally
  42. Casey Mears
  43. Mike Bliss
DNQ: Travis Kvapil, David Starr, Stephen Leicht, Mike Skinner.
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