NSCS: On Top Again; Keselowski Scores Coors Light Pole at Loudon

Kyle Magda Featured, NASCAR, Northeast 0 Comments

LOUDON, N.H. — Report by Race Chaser Online Correspondent Kyle Magda — Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR photo — Brad Keselowski just isn’t slowing down.

Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, scored the pole for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Osram Sylvania 300 at Loudon. Keselowski is coming off a victory at Chicagoland Speedway and the speed continued to show Friday in qualifying.

The points leader led 138 of the 305 laps in July’s race at Loudon and fought his way back through the top 10 several times throughout the race, while others took no or two tires.  Keselowski was able to drive his way each time and win in convincing fashion.

“We felt like in the spring (at Loudon), our car was not where we wanted it to be in qualifying trim,” Keselowski said of the July weekend.  “We felt like that kind of handicapped us in the race and made us drive through the field a couple of times, whether it was the start of the race or through the pit cycles because of pit stall location.”

The 2012 Cup champ will have a better view come Sunday.

“We put extra emphasis on it (for the pole) today and it great to see us get rewarded for that,” he said of his pole-winning effort.

The top non-Chase driver was Jamie McMurray, who will start alongside Keselowski on Sunday.  McMurray showed speed last weekend at Chicagoland, as both Ganassi Racing cars showed speed in the race and brought home top-10 finishes, with his rookie teammate Kyle Larson coming home in third and McMurray eighth.  The fifth-year Ganassi Racing driver talked about how to put a whole weekend together at a place at Loudon.

“This is one of those tracks if you show up on Friday and you’re struggling, it’s also impossible to get your car competitive,” McMurray said.  “On the flip side, if you show up with a quick car, it typically stays fast all weekend.”

At a track like Loudon, qualifying is important to get good pit selection for Sunday’s race.  The 1.058 mile track is hard to pass on, as drivers will mix up different strategies on pit road.

“The pit selection here is also a big deal, getting blocked in because you do a lot of two tires,” McMurray added.  “The fact that we qualified well, you get to have the opening, leaving, is gonna be really valuable, especially if you’re running up front.”

Kevin Harvick will start on the inside of row two with a third-place qualifying effort.  Harvick has six poles on the season and has qualified up front even when he hasn’t started on the pole this year. The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver last won a pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway three weeks ago and has been knocking on the door of his third win of 2014.

“I just need to keep doing the things that we’re doing,” Harvick said.  “The cars are fast and we’re putting ourselves in position as we get towards the end of these races.”

Harvick was also the fastest SHR driver in third and the only one in the stable to move on into the second round of qualifying.

The Chasers missing the cut for the final round were: Jeff Gordon (13th), Kurt Busch (15th), Matt Kenseth (16th), Kasey Kahne (17th), Aric Almirola (21st), Greg Biffle (27th) and A.J. Allmendinger (28th).

The green flag for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 will drop shortly after 2 p.m. ET Sunday and will be shown live on ESPN.

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