NASCAR & Auto Racing

Brad Keselowski fastest on record-breaking day at New Hampshire

Brad Keselowski needed a change in fortune and on Friday he found it.

Keselowski was one of 10 drivers to break the previous track qualifying record and won the pole for Sunday’s Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“Track position is important everywhere, and especially here. That first pit stall will be great,” said Keselowski, who turned a lap at 135.922 mph to claim his first Sprint Cup Series pole of the season.

“This is a real shot in the arm. We’ve had speed and now we need the execution. We’ll be OK if we can just close it out.

“We had a great car at Daytona and I wasn’t able to close it out at the end.”

Keselowski has dropped from ninth to 13th in the series standings over the past five races and hasn’t had a top-10 finish since the June 2 race at Dover, Del.

The previous track qualifying record, 135.232 mph, was set by Ryan Newman in July 2011.

Series points leader Jimmie Johnson originally qualified second after running into some minor issues during pre-qualifying inspection.

However, Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet was found to be too low in the front of the car in post-qualifying inspection and his speed was disallowed. Johnson will now start last in Sunday’s race.

Kurt Busch qualified second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. third, Kyle Busch was fourth and Jeff Gordon was fifth.

This was the ninth time this season a new qualifying record has been set.

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