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Qualifying Report: XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway

NO LIMITS, Texas (Mar. 19, 2022) -- Canadian Dalton Kellett topped his teammates in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon and will start 22nd in the 27-car field. He posted a two-lap average speed of 219.038mph in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet.

It is the second straight race that Kellett improved his qualifying run over last year which has been a goal this season.

"I think we definitely made an improvement from last year, but we're definitely not starting where we'd

like to for the race," said Kellett, who started 23rd out of 24 cars in race 2 last year (the race 1 grid was set according to points). "Track conditions are going to be super important and I think it is still going to be tough to pass even with the adjustments to the downforce level and the high line testing they're doing later, so we'll have to be a hundred percent sure our race car is good to go and that we've got a good car for the long run. (We) Have to make good calls on the strategy and execute well, don't make mistakes, be good in the pits. Those things will be the most important things for us to focus on during the race and take opportunities as they come."

Qualifying for the XPEL 375 left the Foyt team wanting more but Kyle Kirkwood is confident about his car for the race. He was quick to point out that he believes he has a good "race" car for tomorrow's race on the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Kirkwood posted a two-lap average speed of 219.013mph and will start 23rd.

Kirkwood was the only Foyt driver to test at the track earlier in the month, not counting J.R. Hildebrand's "shaking down" the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet for the rookie at that test.

"I think the qualifying run that we had was good, there were no mistakes made," said Kirkwood who

will be making his first start here. "We went with the car that expected it to be but for some reason we just didn't have the pace. I'm not sure why, we'll have to dig through the data to understand what that was but regardless I think we've got a really good race car. We were able to fight with the guys when we were here testing, I was able to pass a couple guys on track earlier today in practice, so hopefully that translates over to the race. We have another practice s that will be the true teller of where we actually set for the race. Qualifying is one thing but the race is completely different."

Hildebrand, who had an issue that cut his practice time in half (compared to his teammates), qualified 26th with an average speed of 218.584mph.

"Obviously not where we'd like to be starting the race but we'll look into it and figure out what we've got going on," said the veteran who is making his first start here since 2017. "Between all three cars, we didn't really find the performance that a lot of the other teams have. We're not the only team that couldn't figure it out either, so that'll be something that maybe is less relevant for tomorrow, but good for us to do a little research into it so we can figure it out.

"Now it's all about getting the cars tuned up for the second practice here so we can feel good going into the race," he continued. "It's going to be a tough race tomorrow, conditions are going to probably be kind of lousy just with the wind but for us at this point that may be something for us to lean into for a little bit. It's not going to be great for anybody out there. If we can just outlast people, if we can keep our heads about us and be smart throughout the race, that usually counts for something in these situations, so looking forward to that. It's going to be a grind for us but sometimes that's why you show up, so we'll see how it goes."

Felix Rosenqvist won the pole with a speed of 221.110mph. Scott McLaughlin, who won the season opener in St. Petersburg, was second. Rounding out the top five were Takuma Sato, Wilk Power and Scott Dixon. The XPEL 375 will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.


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