Kenseth, Kyle Busch among those starting from deep on Texas grid

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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.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.