NASCAR Chicagoland Notebook: Ross Kenseth Shrugs Off Practice Spin For Front Row Start

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Jack McCarthy ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Ross Kenseth during Xfinity Series practice Friday at Chicagoland Speedway (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ross Kenseth during Xfinity Series practice Friday at Chicagoland Speedway (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

JOLIET, Ill. — Ross Kenseth had a bumpy introduction to Chicagoland Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval during Friday’s practice as he prepared for his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut.

Kenseth, the son of the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth, caught a rough patch in turn four and swayed several times while working to regain full control of his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry.

He managed to avoid any rivals and the wall and finally did a complete spin before coming safely to a halt.

“(I) got in the gas pretty hard off of (turn) four and started stepping out,” Kenseth said. “I got to the point where I thought I had it and it got really loose. From there it was hanging on, not trying to hit the wall or get into the grass and kick the front off it.”

But Kenseth, 22, appeared to be a quick study, steadily improving from Friday’s practice through Saturday’s qualifying.

Kenseth earned a spot in Row 1 for Saturday’s fifth annual Owens Corning AttiCat 300. After the sixth-fastest time in the first qualifying round, he topped the 24-car field in the second round and was narrowly edged by Austin Dillon for top time in the third and final round.

Dillon won the pole with a lap of 30.583 seconds, 176.569 miles per hour while Kenseth checked in at 30.585 seconds / 176.557 mph. Elliott Sadler was third and posted his eighth career top-10 start at Chicagoland.

Veteran Matt Kenseth was on hand at Chicagoland and was enjoying his son’s efforts.

“I’ve learned that I’m never ready enough to be at the race track without driving in it,” Matt Kenseth said. “But I’m enjoying watching Ross.”

Series leader Chris Buescher had the ninth-fastest qualifying time and started in row five.


On weekends when NASCAR’s two series run back-to-back at the same track, the NASCAR XFINITY Series will often attract an average of four NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders.

Kyle Busch, for example, won last week’s Great Clips 250 benefiting Paralyzed Veterans of America last Saturday at Michigan International Speedway before running the Sprint Cup Series race the next day.

But with Sprint Cup Series taking this week off, Busch and many other drivers from NASCAR’s premier series opted for a rare weekend away from the tracks.

But Sprint Cup regular Austin Dillon did opt to run at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday. He’s made four previous starts at Chicagoland with top-10 finishes each time.


The track, located outside Chicago, has had ample experience hosting big-time events.

Saturday’s doubleheader, which included an ARCA race, is a prelude to September’s big show when all three NASCAR series will take turns on the track.

The main event will be the Sept. 20 400 and the Chase for the Sprint Cup opener.

“It’s a good trial run for getting ready for the big triple header in September and it’s also a good platform for us to talk about September,” Scott Paddock, Chicagoland Speedway president said on Saturday. “We’re honored to host the kickoff race in the Chase [for the NASCAR Sprint Cup], it’s a very coveted position on the NASCAR calendar.”


The NASCAR XFINITY Series takes a break before a restart at the July 4 Subway Firecracker 250 by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is back next Sunday with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Speedway in Sonoma, Calif.

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