Matt Kenseth Wins Homestead Pole, Keeps Championship Hopes Alive

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Matt Kenseth Wins Homestead Pole, Keeps Championship Hopes Alive
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
Matt Kenseth won the pole for Sunday's race at Homestead.

Qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is over, and championship contender Matt Kenseth earned the pole position.

According to the speed chart obtained by ESPN-owned Jayski.com, Kenseth ran his lap in 30.394 seconds with an average speed of 177.667 miles per hour.

The pole win was Kenseth's third of the season, which ties his career high for one year.

Kenseth enters Homestead 28 points behind championship leader Jimmie Johnson, who qualified seventh. Kevin Harvick, the driver third in the standings and the only other driver still with a chance to win the series title, will start in sixth place.

The pole win for Kenseth comes as a bit of a surprise based on the day's only practice session. During the 90-minute test period, Kenseth was just the 19th-fastest car, with his quick lap being six-tenths of a second slower than his eventual pole-winning time, according to Jayski.com's practice results chart.

Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin make up the rest of the top five starters for Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400.

Only 43 cars attempted to qualify, so no cars will miss the race.

Two drivers, Mark Martin and Ken Schrader, are set to make their final scheduled Sprint Cup Series start at Sunday's event. They qualified 22nd and 41st, respectively.

The cars and drivers will see the track for two practices on Saturday. The first test session will run for 55 minutes beginning at noon ET, while Happy Hour will run for 50 minutes starting at 3 p.m. ET.

This race at Homestead is the 36th and final race of the 2013 season. Johnson will clinch his sixth series championship with a 23rd-place finish or better, regardless of where Kenseth or Harvick finishes.

The green flag for Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 will wave at 3 p.m. ET.

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