Rookie phenomenon Kasey Kahne classed the field with a lap of 171.716 mph to earn his second pole this season. In the last three events, Kahne has not started worse than 12th in the No. 9 Evernham Dodge. "That's a great lap here at Darlington,"...
Rookie phenomenon Kasey Kahne classed the field with a lap of 171.716 mph to earn his second pole this season. In the last three events, Kahne has not started worse than 12th in the No. 9 Evernham Dodge.
"That's a great lap here at Darlington," said Kahne. "To start first in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on Sunday means a great deal to the Dodge Dealers/UAW team. We look forward to Sunday, and we'll work hard tomorrow to get a good balance on the racecar and just try to stay away from the walls all day."
Kahne's strong start to the season makes him almost indomitable in the race for the Raybestos rookie of the year. Kahne is one of only five drivers in the history of NASCAR to earn three top fives in their first four events.
"I'm definitely surprised," said Kahne of his instant success in Nextel Cup. "It came quick. Tommy Baldwin (crew chief) and the whole team have done a great job. The engine shop is doing an awesome job. The Evernham engines are unbelievable right now. They're running so strong."
Kahne also starts second for Saturday's Busch event in the No. 38 Dodge.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. piloting the No. 8 DEI Chevy will take the green flag from the outside pole position on Sunday. Earnhardt, who has already gained two wins in four events, posted a lap of 171.154 mph.
"It was real good we got here today and thanks to NASCAR we got four sets of tires instead of three," said Earnhardt. "I felt comfortable with the car and it was quick right away."
"They had a great set-up under the car, and it went around there with relative comfort. I was real happy with how we continue to improve here at Darlington."
Roush Ford No. 16 team and driver Greg Biffle roll off from the third position on Sunday with a lap of 171.083 mph.
"The guys gave me a lot better car than I qualified," said Biffle. "We definitely had a car to be on the pole here today. I just got nervous sitting there waiting all that time buckled in the car."
Biffle's Roush teammate Kurt Busch charted his second top ten starting spot this season with a fourth place effort in the No. 97 Ford.
"That was a comfortable lap," said Busch. "I saw the speed posted by the 9 and the 8 and I didn't think we'd even come close to that, so we ran a decent lap."
Surprisingly, Derrike Cope completes the top five qualifiers in the No. 50 Arnold Development Dodge. This is Cope's first top ten start since Atlanta in 1998.
Notably, Michael Waltrip slapped the wall on his qualifying attempt, and did not complete his lap. The No. 15 DEI Chevy team will have to take a provisional and start from the 39th spot.
Johnny Sauter also wrecked during his qualifying lap. Sauter took his initial lap, but lost control of the No. 30 RCR Chevy on the second approach. He spun collecting the trash cans filled with water at the entrance to pit road. Sauter will start 24th.
Forty-four drivers attempted to make the forty-three car field, loading up and heading home is the No. 94 Chevy of Stanton Barrett.