NASCAR at Kansas 2016 Qualifying Results: Race Order, Final Times and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2016

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 14:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DEWALT FLEXVOLT Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 14, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Two races remain in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase's Round of 12, and on Friday, the field was set for the first of those, which is Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 from Kansas Speedway. 

Matt Kenseth took the pole as he will lead a field that looks like this:

Hollywood Casino 400 Qualifying Results
RankDriverTime
1Matt Kenseth*28.112
2Kyle Busch*28.113
3Carl Edwards*28.270
4Martin Truex Jr.*28.304
5Alex Bowman28.374
6Joey Logano*28.388
7Denny Hamlin*28.393
8Brad Keselowski*28.408
9Ryan Newman28.432
10AJ Allmendinger28.445
11Kevin Harvick*28.484
12Auston Dillon*28.486
2nd Cut
13Chase Elliott*28.428
14Tony Stewart28.430
15Kurt Busch*28.455
16Paul Menard28.457
17Ryan Blaney28.490
18Ricky Stenhouse Jr.28.513
19Danica Patrick28.535
20Kasey Kahne28.541
21Jimmie Johnson*28.575
22Greg Biffle28.582
23Jamie McMurray28.709
24Kyle Larson29.027
1st Cut
25Trevor Bayne28.666
26Regan Smith28.774
27Matt DiBenedetto28.788
28David Ragan28.798
29Casey Mears28.809
30Chris Buescher28.826
31Clint Bowyer28.839
32Brian Scott28.905
33Michael McDowell28.967
34Landon Cassill29.181
35Aric Almirola29.217
36Cole Whitt29.482
37Michael Annett29.687
38Joey Gase29.907
39Reed Sorenson29.933
40Josh Wise30.025
*Denotes Chase driver

The win was Kenseth's 18th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series, via the NBC Sports telecast, as he sits second in the Chase standings. However he was just able to hold on to the top spot as he edged Kyle Busch by one one-thousandth of a second. 

With the Chase field being cut from 12 to eight after the Alabama 500 from Talladega on on Oct. 23, only Jimmie Johnson is safe, as his win at Martinsville clinched his spot in the next round. So his 21st standing in qualifying isn't going to hurt his postseason chances in any way.

Entering the weekend, Denny Hamlin held the eighth and final spot of the Chase standings with 3,012 points, but he is 16 points behind seventh-place Martin Truex Jr., and his lead is not close to safe. 

Both Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott are just three points behind Hamlin, while Joey Logano is six points back and Kevin Harvick is eight points adrift. 

Elliott is the only one of those four drivers who will start outside of the top 12, as he was the final cut in the second round and will start in 13th.

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Hamlin will start in seventh as he tries to keep the eighth spot, while Logano is in sixth, Harvick in 11th and Dillon in 12th.

Qualifying on Friday was expected to be a fast-and-furious affair as drivers were hitting speeds around 205 mph during an overcast practice session earlier that day. But the later it got in the day, the sun came out and the track heated up, thus slowing drivers down.

Instead of speeds over 200 mph, the fastest speed was set at 192 mph during qualifying. 

A good qualifying round won't necessarily translate into success on race day, but it does take a little bit of pressure off the drivers near the cut line. 

The better the starting position, the less of the field one would have to move up through while getting better positions on pit road. When it comes down to such fine margins come cut time, it can make a world of difference for drivers trying to keep their seasons alive. 

                 

Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com.