Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch face a decent-sized climb ahead of them for tomorrow’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after failing to escape the first round of qualifying.
Kenseth, who has yet to win in 2014, will start 26th on the grid while Busch, the defending champion of this race, is starting 29th. That said, after charging from dead last at the start to a runner-up finish in last night’s Nationwide Series race, Busch probably isn’t perturbed too much.
As for Kenseth, he chalked up the poor performance in qualifying to a missed setup.
“We were just dragging on the ground real hard and the track picked up a lot of speed and a lot of grip after that rain shower,” Kenseth said to Fox Sports, referring to the light shower that briefly delayed the start of qualifying today.
“We just seem to miss that a little bit. It’s pretty disappointing. I honestly thought we were going to have a shot at the pole as good as we were on the second runs on tires in practice. Something just changed there in that couple of hours and we just kind of missed it. This track is so fast, if you get off a little bit like that, the [lost] speed just multiplies.”
Meanwhile, Busch made multiple attempts to crack the Top 24 in the first round to no avail, causing him to say over the radio that “we are missing everything.” Things weren’t all bad for the Joe Gibbs Racing camp, however, as Denny Hamlin qualified toward the front in sixth spot.
Other notables that failed to make it out of Round 1 were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 31st, Kasey Kahne in 32nd, and A.J. Allmendinger in 33rd.