He’s back: Kenseth returns to capture pole for the All-Star race

CONCORD, NC (AP) Matt Kenseth expects Friday night's rating to be a sign that better times are coming.

Kenseth's return to the races is already paying big dividends for Roush Fenway Racing after taking pole for NASCAR Saturday night. Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kenseth agreed to return to the race at a limited time this year for his original team after being dropped by Joe Gibbs Racing last year. He will start alongside his RFR partner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the front row.

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"I'm starting, so I'm still in recovery mode," Kenseth said. "I'm trying to catch Ricky and just run."

Kenseth began his full-time first-clbad series career with the Roush team in 2000 before leaving for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.

However, his contract was not renewed after the fight of the season pbad.

Agreed in April to return to Roush Fenway Racing, where he will split the time in the No. 6 Ford with Trevor Bayne for the rest of the season. Kenseth's first race was last week in Kansas, where he was wrecked with 15 laps remaining.

Kenseth believes that capturing the pole will be an opportunity for Roush, who this season has struggled to compete with the best cars. [19659002] "It's good to have both cars in the front row," Kenseth said. "We have two cars that leave the store at this time and obviously … the goal is to put the cars in the front row."

Ford was awarded six of the top 10 places in the standings.

Kevin Harvick, who comes as the best driver on the field with five Cup victories, including the last two, at Dover and Kansas, qualified fourth in his quest to take home the $ 1 million first prize.

RESTRAINING PLATES: For the first time, cars will have a restrictor plate similar to those used on major highways at Talladega and Daytona.

The cars will also carry a six-inch spoiler on the rear deck, a 2014-style front splitter and aerodynamic ducts with the idea to increase the opportunities for pbadage. NASCAR had some success with that configuration in the Xfinity Series, which used a similar package at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, producing a record number of lead changes.

THE FORMAT: This year's All-Star race will feature a four-stage format – 30 laps, 20 laps and 20 laps, followed by a 10-round shootout.

DIFFICULT TO REPEAT: Kyle Busch won last year's All-Star race, but history suggests he will have a tough time repeating Since 1998, only four-time All-Star champion Jimmie Johnson has scored multiple wins in the event.

Busch qualified seventh.

"A lot, much slower," Busch said of his car this year. "Everything all around, I think obviously the cars are slower to start, but I think it was just a bit tentative for that, which is what you would expect, without practice, I think it's going to be a gossip about how this race is going and how it develops ".

I NEED A VICTORY: Former Cup series champion Brad Keselowski is 0 out of 9 in the All-Star race, while Martinsville Speedway winner Clint Bowyer 0 for 8 and champion of the reigning series Martin Truex Jr. is 0 for 6.

EL CAMPO: The field will include all the winners of the 2017 and 2018 Cup series, as well as former series champions and former All-Star winners who continue to compete full time . The three winners of Saturday's open race will also be transferred to the main event.

No stage will end under yellow flag conditions and only the green flag turns count in the fourth and final stage.

More AP Auto Racing: https://racing.ap.org

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