The last time Kenseth won a pole at the high-banked .533-mile short track—back in 2005—he followed with a victory in the race.
In Friday's time trials at Thunder Valley, with a lap at 128.632 mph (14.917 seconds) Kenseth earned the 14th Coors Light Pole Award of his career, his second at Bristol and his first of the season.
And that's a good omen for a driver who hasn't won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race since his seven-victory debut season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.
Kenseth edged two-time Bristol winner Brad Keselowski (128.442 mph) for the top starting spot by .022 seconds. Carl Edwards (128.322 mph) qualified third, his best effort of the season so far, and reigning series champion Kevin Harvick (128.211 mph) will start fourth in Sunday’s Food City 500 to Support Steve Byrnes.
"We need to be able to go out and win races," Kenseth said. "Last year and so far this year haven't been particularly great for JGR. I think we've had two wins that weren't plate races in the last year and a half as a company.
"So, obviously, as a company, we've got to get running better. ... We've just got to keep working on it, and I've certainly got to be better. I need to do a better job, and I know that. I work at getting better every week, and I have, I think, since the first day I came into this sport."