DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth had two of the strongest cars in the season-opening Daytona 500 but had nothing to show for it after a pair of engine failures.
The Joe Gibbs Racing duo is determined not to let that happen tonight in their return to Daytona International Speedway.
Busch and Kenseth swept the front row in Friday qualifying, with Busch turning a lap at 193.723 mph to win the pole. Kenseth was second at 193.299.
It's Busch's third pole of the season, 13th of his career, but first ever for a restrictor plate race.
"I've not had many opportunities for me to win poles at restrictor plate races, so I've got to thank the team, all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing that did such a good job building a slick race car," Busch said. "It's a team effort coming to these places and having great race cars. I'm really excited to be starting up front, especially with my teammate Matt Kenseth on the front row with us."
Kenseth led 86 laps at Daytona in February and was out front with teammates Busch and Denny Hamlin right behind him when his engine failed. Two laps later, Busch was headed to the garage with his own race-ending failure.
"We were lined up 1-2-3 when I broke, and Kyle broke shortly after that," said Kenseth. "Our plate stuff has been really fast this year. Qualifying doesn't always mean a lot at a superspeedway, but it's nice to start up front. Hopefully we can keep it up and stay in front of any potential trouble."
Clint Bowyer qualified third and Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. was fifth as Toyota drivers took four of the first five spots. MWR team co-owner Michael Waltrip was seventh.
Kenseth wins Nationwide race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Matt Kenseth pulled away from traffic on the final restart of Friday night's Nationwide Series race, cruising to a comfortable win at Daytona International Speedway.
The race was on pace to be one of the fastest in Daytona history until a late accident brought out a red-flag stoppage that lasted nearly 10 minutes.
There were only two laps remaining when the race resumed, and Kenseth paired up with defending Truck Series champion James Buescher on the restart. The two easily broke away from the pack, leaving everyone else racing for third place.
Kenseth and Buescher weren't challenged to the finish, with Kenseth taking the win and Buescher finishing second.
It was a turn of events after the tandem of Sam Hornish Jr. and Joey Logano had dominated to lead 64 of the 101 laps.