DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth had two of the strongest cars in the season-opening Daytona 500 but had nothing to show for it after a pair of engine failures.
The Joe Gibbs Racing duo is determined not to let that happen Saturday night in their return to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400.
Busch and Kenseth swept the front row in Friday qualifying, with Busch turning a lap at 193.723 miles per hour to win the pole. Kenseth was second at 193.299.
It’s Busch’s third pole of the season, 13th of his career, but first ever for a restrictor plate race.
‘‘I've not had many opportunities for me to win poles at restrictor plate races, so I've got to thank the team, all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing that did such a good job building a slick racecar,’’ Busch said. ‘‘It’s a team effort coming to these places and having great racecars.”
Kenseth led 86 laps at Daytona in February and was out front with teammates Busch and Denny Hamlin right behind him when his engine failed. Two laps later, Busch had his own failure.
Clint Bowyer qualified second and Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. was fifth as Toyota drivers took four of the first five spots Friday. Michael Waltrip was seventh.
It was a strong showing for the Toyota drivers, who have battled various engine woes all season as Toyota Racing Development has struggled to find the right balance of speed and durability.
Kasey Kahne prevented a Toyota sweep by wedging his Chevrolet in at fourth. He’s had bad results at plate tracks this year because he was wrecked in the Daytona 500 and at Talladega by Busch.
Paul Menard was sixth in a Chevrolet, and Waltrip was seventh in another Toyota. Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson was eighth, followed by rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle as the highest-qualifying Fords.
Danica Patrick wound up 11th in her return to Daytona, where she became the first woman to start from the pole in the season-opening Daytona 500.