Kahne blazes to pole at repaved Kansas Speedway

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Attaining a record speed of 191.360 miles per hour, Kasey Kahne blazed to the pole position in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifications at the Kansas Speedway on a cool, breezy Friday afternoon.

In earning the pole position for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, Kahne claimed his fourth pole of the season, his third at Kansas and the 26th of his successful career. He drove the Farmers Insurance Chevrolet.

It was a good lap. Our car felt really good when I came to the green.

Kasey Kahne

Due to the repaving of the 1.5-mile track, all 46 entrants exceeded the previous track record of 180.856 mph set by Matt Kenseth seven years ago.

Said Kahne about his record run, “It was a good lap. Our car felt really good when I came to the green. I got through (turns) 1 and 2 really good, but I had to lift a little bit in turn 4 when I lost my front tires. But I was still able to run a quick lap and get the pole, which made me happy. I’ve always liked this track, although it doesn’t feel anything like the old track.”

Regarding the repaving process, he added, “I think they did a really good job. It will be tough this weekend but from here on, I think it will be one of the best tracks that we go to. You can tell the lines and grooves will come in once the track gets some wear, and it will be a fun track to race on.”

Hard-charger Mark Martin put the Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota on the outside of the front row with a speed of 191.238 mph.

“We fought a way-too-tight condition in practice,” Martin said. “Rodney (Childers) took a big leap at it for qualifying and I was afraid the car would be loose in qualifying. It wasn’t that bad but it definitely stepped out a little bit. I knew the car was getting tighter, and I was going to have to do a second lap. I don’t have any practice at holding my breath for 60 seconds. I am pretty good for 30 seconds, but I am going to have to work on holding it longer, as it took too long for my liking.”

Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Getty Images

As a teammate to Martin, Clint Bowyer timed third fastest at a speed of 191.130 mph. He drives the 5-hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota.

“It was an unbelievable sensation of speed on that lap,” Bowyer said. “We went for it and we freed the car up, and it was close (to pole). We will get a good pit stall for Sunday, which goes a long way toward track position all day long. It will be interesting to see how much it warms up tomorrow and Sunday. Once that happens, the track is bound to get greasier and slicker, which should move the groove up a little bit, so we can run.

“Everyone will be looking at the Nationwide (Series) race to see how these double-file restarts go and how that outside line comes in. If it ever does come in, that progressive banking will help us.”

Kyle Busch pushed his M&M’s Halloween Toyota to the fourth fastest speed.

Aric Almirola timed fifth fastest with Ryan Newman close behind in sixth.

Seventh through 10th in the qualification runs were Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.

Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Of the top-10 qualifiers, Toyota took the honors with five drivers while Chevrolet had four and Ford one.

Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Kenseth qualified 11th and 12th, respectively.

Chase driver Jeff Gordon earned the 19th starting position trailed by Brad Keselowski in 25th and Tony Stewart farther back in the 33rd spot.

A.J. Allmendinger qualified James Finch’s Chevrolet 13th and Regan Smith, subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr., earned the 40th starting position. Danica Patrick qualified 41st fastest.

Failing to qualify were Cole Whitt, David Stremme and Josh Wise.

Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 will be telecast live by ESPN at 2 p.m. ET.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bowyer, featured, hendrick, jennings, kahne, kansas, martin