Brad Keselowski hadn’t won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole since 2017. His Team Penske outfit had won three already this season with Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney heading into Friday’s (July 20) qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Finally, the drought is over for one of the top 2019 MENCS title contenders.
Keselowski earned the pole for the FoxWoods Resort Casino 301, turning a lap of 136.384 mph. He’ll start up front for the first time since Michigan in August 2017 while searching for his second career victory at NHMS.
“It has been a while since we had a pole,” Keselowski said after qualifying concluded. “We have had really good cars but haven’t been able to make the most of them with the driver in qualifying so it’s nice to get one here in Loudon.”
It is Keselowski’s 15th career MENCS pole position. Keselowski will be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch, last week’s runner-up. His brother, last week’s winner Kurt Busch, slotted in third. Erik Jones will start fourth while Blaney rounds out the top-five qualifiers.
Only one small incident marred Friday’s qualifying session. Alex Bowman was coming off turn 4 when his No. 88 car erupted into a puff of smoke. Bowman, three weeks removed from his first career win at Chicagoland Speedway, suffered a broken driveshaft.
“Just a big boom going down the front straightaway and smoke and oil everywhere,” Bowman told NBCSN. He’ll start Sunday’s race at the rear of the field.
That is not good.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 19, 2019
Well dang, broken driveshaft destroyed the car on its way out. Have to go to a backup, an older car…. last ran:
— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) July 19, 2019
Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman both went to backup cars after wrecking in the first practice. They qualified 23rd and 26th, respectively, but both will head to the back before the drop of the green flag Sunday.
Last year’s winner, Kevin Harvick, will start 14th as he seeks his first victory of 2019 and the first for Stewart-Haas Racing. Rookie Daniel Hemric, who had his car chief ejected after failing tech three times this afternoon, will start 19th.
The FoxWoods Resort Casino 301 gets underway Sunday at 3:00 PM ET on NBCSN.