Race Weekend Central

Brad Keselowski Takes 2015 Southern 500 Pole

Brad Keselowski has embraced this throwback weekend and it has loved him in return. Keselowski ran a 27.492-second lap at a speed of 178.874 mph to win the pole for Sunday’s Southern 500.

Starting to his outside will be Kurt Busch. The elder Busch brother ran a 177.588-mph lap in 27.691 seconds.

Kevin Harvick was third fastest with a lap of 27.718 seconds and a speed of 177.415 mph. Outside of the second row will be occupied by Joey Logano, whose 177.319-mph lap took just 27.733 seconds.

The front two rows are occupied by just two teams, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Tire falloff was a key element of the sessions. The drivers had to get everything they could on the first run of a session. If they had to run a second time they were generally unable to improve on the time they laid down in the first run of a session.

Asked about the finesse required to sit on the pole at Darlington Keselowski said, “This is the greatest combination of speed and guts of any track we go to.”

In the second session, Keselowski was the fastest driver while Carl Edwards was the fastest driver not to make it to the final round. Among the the drivers not making it to the final run for the pole were Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle. Biffle made some serious contact with the wall. The team was waiting until it could get the car to the garage to determine if it needed to go to a backup car or not.

In the first round Busch was the fastest car, while Matt DiBenedetto was the fastest car to not make the cut and will start 25th.

Josh Wise, Timmy Hill and Travis Kvapil were the three cars that failed to qualify.

Danica Patrick made significant contact with the wall and was forced to a backup car for Sunday’s race.

The pole is Keselowski’s ninth career pole in his 222nd start. It is his first career pole at Darlington Raceway and also his first pole of 2015. Busch’s outside pole is his first at Darlington and his fourth top-two start at the egg-shaped oval.


About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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A Ford driver on the pole? Hmmm…

Three Hendrick cars in the top-5? Not unusual.

Four Fords in the top-9? Bet Rick and the Coach had something to say about that!

Dennis-the-menace and Kyle (as well as Harvick, Larson, and Logano) should do well, as they had a lot more practice yesterday afternoon. More so with Kyle and Dennis-the-menace, as their Cup cars and Xfinity cars are a lot closer than the other three who raced Camaros (a lot different than their SS’s) and Mustangs (a lot different that their Fusions).

Although, here’s an interesting fact (or not), Ford now builds a lot of their Fusions at their Flat Rock, Michigan plant, as well as Mustangs. Didn’t know that, did you?


Rick’s not happy and that means Brian isn’t happy. How could the inspectors let a sled with a Ford decal pass and get the pole? It’ll be different in the “race.” Brian needs to enjoy Rick’s call on Monday morning.

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