Kahne and Newman sweep front row in Talladega qualifying

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KAHNE WILL LEAD THE FIELD TO THE GREEN AT TALLADEGA EARNS FIRST CAREER POLE AT THE 2.66-MILE SUPERSPEEDWAY

TALLADEGA, AL.– October 6, 2012 – Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, will lead the field to the green in Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Round 30 on the tour and the fourth stop of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Kahne posted a lap of 50.017 seconds, 191.455 mph to capture his 25th Cup career pole in 318 starts. This is the 32-year-old driver’s first career pole award at Talladega Superspeedway and first at any restrictor plate track. This also marks Kahne’s third pole of 2012 and his 21st start from inside the top-10 this season.

Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

The ‘Rocket Man’ Ryan Newman put his U.S. Army Chevrolet on the outside front row and will roll off from the second starting position. Newman’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart qualified fourth in his No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, which will mark the seventh time he has started in the top-five at Talladega. Six-time Talladega winner, Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet qualified sixth.

Other Team Chevy drivers starting in the top 20 are: Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet (starts 12th), Paul Menard, No. 27 Certain Teed Insulation/Menards Chevrolet (starts 16th) and Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet (starts 17th).

Clint Bowyer (Toyota) will start third and Greg Biffle (Ford) will start fifth to round out the top five qualifiers.

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR RUN OUT THERE TODAY: “I knew we had a fast car yesterday in the draft, it seemed really fast and could kind of go wherever I wanted. Today when I left the pits it just got up through the gears really quick and just felt good. It felt like the engine was running strong. I kind of held a line right around the bottom of the track where they told me to go and it worked. It’s my first pole at this track and at this type of a race track so it feels pretty good. We have tried for a long time to win one here and this shows how awesome that car is thanks to Hendrickcars.com and Chevrolet and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports we have some fast cars this weekend.”

HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE DOES THE HENDRICK EQUIPMENT MAKE? I THINK YOU HAD YOUR PREVIOUS BEST QUALIFYING EFFORT IN THE SPRING THEN BACKED IT UP WITH A POLE HERE. IT JUST SEEMS LIKE THEY ARE ALWAYS AROUND THE TOP OF THE CHART HERE: “They just put a big emphasis on these types of tracks and this type of racing. I have never been anywhere before where they do that. As far as the engine goes, the body of the car, everything that they can work on they do. So that makes all of our cars qualify well and look really good when it comes to qualifying. I have qualified dead last here before and close to it probably the majority of the times I have been here my first three or four years in the Cup series. That is just all the effort and emphasis that they put on this track. It feels good to drive that car.”

DOES THIS MEAN ANYTHING FOR TOMORROW? “It means I’m going to start first (laughs), that’s it. I think it means I will try to lead the first lap and just try to get that extra bonus point. If we are up there we might as well stay there and try to lead the most laps if we can. There will be a lot of lead changes I’d expect. So if you could lead the most laps get another point. To me it is just all about getting as many points as possible from here out. If we relax and wait in the back and try to stay out of something I think we just really need to race and race hard. We are a long ways back right now so if we can’t make points up at a track like this then we are probably not going to make those points up.”

DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW TO BE A MORE WILD AND WIDE OPEN AFFAIR THEN MAYBE WE HAVE SEEN HERE IN THE PAST? IT SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE HALF A DOZEN GUYS YOU INCLUDED WHO ARE SORT OF ON THE FRINGE OF BEING IN AND OUT OF THE CHASE. ARE PEOPLE GOING TO TAKE MORE CHANCES THAN NORMAL? “I feel like there are more guys talking about racing throughout the whole race tomorrow than what there has been the last few times we have been here. That is some of the Chase guys, there are guys outside of the Chase that have struggled maybe this year or had some bad luck this year and they could really change it around at a track like this. Yeah, I could see a pretty aggressive race at times tomorrow.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND: TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN OUT THERE TODAY “It is what it is. It was a good run. The guys did a great job with the car but we came up a little bit short with the U.S. Army Chevrolet. We only ran five laps yesterday in practice. We come here with the impression that we’re bringing the best car with all the things that we know that are fastest, so trying things in practice is just trying things. We had the confidence to know that we were competitive and we were and we’ll see how it shakes out in the race versus qualifying. If we can be in that same group of top two-to-five, with five to go, then we’ve done our job.”

FOR AS MANY TIMES AS YOU HAVE WON POLES IN YOUR CAREER, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE TOP 35 RULE THAT NASCAR IS CHANGING FOR NEXT SEASON? “I don’t know the exact specifics but from what I understand, it’s going back to exactly what we had, right? So, there is a reason we changed it to go to what we have now versus what we had. So either we made a mistake in going to what we have or there is a reason everybody likes it better the way it was and it is what it is. But in the end it’s the same for everybody and my two cents is I don’t think that it’s going to be a big issue at all to start the season because with the new cars I don’t see us having an extra surplus of cars. I don’t see 48 or 50 cars each and every week. I see 43-maybe 44-type deal, so I don’t think it’s going to be a deal-breaker at all. I think later in the season when there are other teams, when you get some teams, maybe Nationwide teams that want to run a Cup race and have built a car because they can, then it’s going to be a little different situation.”

WHAT DOES QUALIFYING MEAN HERE? DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING COME LAP FIVE? DOES IT HELP THE TEAM MENTALLY TO HAVE A GOOD QUALIFYING RUN HERE? “We ran five laps yesterday in practice so I didn’t know exactly how we were going to shake up qualifying. I know that this is the same car we had at Daytona where we were second to third, speed-wise. We felt like we had a good car in the race as well. We had a problem on pit road. But the first five laps of the race, to answer your question, you might be in front of the first crash if it happens early; but you could be just as easily a part of it falling backwards. You just never know. We could be four-wide coming across for the completion of the first lap. You just never know.”

YOU ONLY HAD FIVE LAPS OF PRACTICE YESTERDAY? “Yes.”

THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND RACE SINCE THE TWO-CAR TANDEMS WERE ERADICATED. IS THERE ANY DANGER DO YOU THINK? A LOT OF GUYS DIDN’T PRACTICE A LOT YESTERDAY. IS THERE ANY DANGER THAT GUYS MIGHT HAVE TROUBLE GETTING ACCLIMATED? “No, I don’t think so. I might be the first one to crash tomorrow, but I don’t think so.”

THE RACE TODAY PROBABLY HAS NO REAL VALUE EVEN FROM A TIRE STANDPOINT WITH WHAT YOU ALL WILL DO TOMORROW. IS THIS AFTERNOON A NICE VACATION AND DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING WONDERFUL PLANNED? “I’m going fishing.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags chevrolet, hendrick, kahne, newman, talladega