Kahne and other Team Chevy drivers discuss Las Vegas qualifying

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Team Chevy Racing press release

Kasey Kahne Leads the Way for Team Chevy in Qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Kahne Earns his first pole of 2012 while Team Chevy Drivers Occupy Five of the Top-10 Starting Positions for the KOBALT Tools 400

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

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 9, 2012) – Kasey Kahne led the way for Chevrolet earning his first pole of 2012 and solidifying a spot in the 2013 Budweiser Shootout during Friday’s qualifying session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne set a new track record with his time of 28.353 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the second-place qualifier. The pole victory marks the 23rd time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career that Kahne has led the field to the green flag.

A total of 45 cars took turns for a run at the front row on the 1.5-mile tri-oval. When the 43-car field was set, five Team Chevy drivers scored top-10 starting spots for the 267-lap/400 mile race. In addition to Kahne, other Team Chevy drivers starting in the top-10 are: Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet – 3rd, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet – 4th, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet- 6th and Tony Stewart – 7th.

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED ON THE POLE

ON HIS RUN: “It was a good lap. We carried a lot of speed to the line in the Farmers Insurance Chevy. I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 really well. When I got to (Turn) 3, I was a little bit tight and just had a little more wheel than what I would have liked coming off of (Turn) 4 and back to the line. So I knew I was a little on the tight side. But I still felt like it was a good run and the Hendrick engine runs so well it pulls you there. That was a good lap. It was faster in practice today. We did a lot of race trim stuff and then we made a couple of runs right at the end. And I was a little tight right there, actually. I didn’t feel perfect, but I was on the gas and these Hendrick engines run so well. I felt good about it but it definitely wasn’t a perfect lap.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH

“I'm bummed. I really thought we had one there. I got through one and two okay but had a little trouble in three and four. Something wasn't just right there and I think I know what it was. Oh well. We will suck it up and just go out there and win the Kobalt Tools race on Sunday.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 7TH:

DO YOU FEEL THE HENDRICK POWER OUT THERE TODAY? “Oh,yeah. We’ve definitely got great horsepower in the Hendrick engine department. We’ve just got to go out and see what we’ve got in race trim. I felt like we had a really good balanced car in race trim so I’m pretty excited about it. Congrats to Kasey (Kahne) and those guys on the No. 5 car; those guys did a great job today and I’ve got a feeling those are the guys we’re going to have to be racing on Sunday.”

WHEN YOU PULLED INTO THE GARAGE YOUR CREW CHIEF STEVE ADDINGTON HAD A BIG GRIN ON HIS FACE. WHAT DID HE SAY? “I still consider this our second weekend working together; after Daytona now, as far as our driver/crew chief relation side. We’ve had pretty good qualifying efforts in two weeks.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 4TH:

HOW WAS THAT QUALIFYING RUN TODAY? “We showed up really good off the trailer and we were real good with our speed and real happy. The run was a good run. I’m pretty happy with how we ended up. We struggled in qualifying last year and wanted to work on that this year and this is a good result, so hopefully we’re making some gains there.”

A GOOD RUN TODAY, SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO RUN ON SUNDAY? “We’ve got some practice tomorrow to work on the car. We had a little opportunity to run in race trim first thing off the truck today and the car seemed pretty good; but looking at some of the times the other guys are running, we’ve got to get a little bit better or at least be able to match their times and we feel like we’re real close. So we should be able to start off pretty good tomorrow. Hopefully the day goes well and we’ll get the car ready for Sunday.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – STARTS 3rd

FOR YOU TO BE UP THIS HIGH ON THE SCORING PYLON THAT MEANS YOUR PIECE IS REALLY STOUT FOR THIS WEEKEND: “Yeah, these guys on this Budweiser Chevy are making me look good on qualifying days. The cars have been really fast the last two weeks here. Usually when we qualify that close to the front, it’s usually going to be a great weekend. It should be a lot of fun. I just have to thank everybody on our Budweiser Chevy for putting a good piece out there.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 TAG HEUER CHEVROLET – STARTS 12th

IS THIS ONE OF THOSE BIG GROWTH WEEKENDS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM? YOU STILL DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ON THE HOOD? “It is exciting working with the guys in practice and knowing we only have a certain limited time to do things. I’m used to getting A-Z done. I have to manage that and Nick Harrison is a great crew chief with these guys and I just have to thank James Finch. Yeah, we have sponsorship available. That hood is blank right now. I’ve got Monster helping me out and Tag Heuer out here in Vegas. It’s just neat seeing things come together this way. Now I’m getting more comfortable with how the car can get adjusted and what we can do in practice to make it better. The No. 51 we are still finding more speed with it.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – STARTS 22nd

IS THIS TRACK REALLY EASY TO OVERDRIVE? “What happens is you get done practicing you go back and you look at all the data that you got. We now can look at throttle traces and we look at dart fish obviously. We are doing a lot of stuff to get information, everybody in the garage is and you are getting beat somewhere so you know you have to go faster there. The driver then goes and tries to get too much or in some cases a little bit more. I got what I needed to get I thought in one and two, but I tried to get too much in three and four and got up out of the line and costs us quite a bit of speed over there. We missed about two runs that we wanted to make in practice today. That was the run I wanted to make about two runs ago. At least we are going to be better than we were in practice, not a whole lot, but we will be a little better. It will be ok.”

BRENDAN GAUGHAN, NO. 33 SOUTH POINT HOTEL & CASINO CHEVROLET – STARTS 23rd

HOW FREE WAS THE CAR? “Just a little bit too free especially in turns three and four. One and two really felt like I got a lot of it. The new deal with the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) and having teammates at RCR is that I can see their data so I can see how much they are lifting, how much brake pressure. I have had a lot of chance to study that. A lot of confidence gained in the Nationwide No. 33 South Point Chevy and that was a half second pick up. From last week to this week I’m feeling a whole different person.”

IT WOULD BE COOL TO SEE BRENDAN GAUGHAN ON THE POLE: “I don’t think we are going to end up on the pole. We are on the pole now with 25 to go; our goal is to stay top-20 with that. That is a half second pick up. Richard Childress brought me back here after eight years and the Nationwide car has been super-fast. I started out in this car in practice and my confidence, Gil (Martin, crew chief) has really let me build my confidence. Went over there and confidence just got huge with Ernie (Cope, NNS crew chief) and those guys. To come back and be able to do this right here I’m really happy right now.”

IS THIS A GOOD DRIVING RACE CAR? “That is what we spent most of the time doing. Gil (Martin, crew chief) really worked hard on letting me learn how to drive the race car. With the new EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) set-ups and the new RCR teammates I can look at gas and brake and stuff and have some data like old testing. It’s really paid off for me. I’ve spent a lot of time studying it. Figuring out where I’m not driving like my teammates and try to change my style. It has dropped the learning curve off completely.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, gordon, hendrick, johnson, kahne, stewart