Kasey Kahne earned his 19th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole today, leading the Richard Petty Motosports Ford team to a 1-2 qualifying result at Kansas Speedway. His teammate Paul Menard, later in the qualifying order, gave it a good shot but came...
Kasey Kahne earned his 19th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole today, leading the Richard Petty Motosports Ford team to a 1-2 qualifying result at Kansas Speedway. His teammate Paul Menard, later in the qualifying order, gave it a good shot but came up short by .031 seconds.
"I am glad we got the pole for Budweiser and for Ford," smiled Kahne. "It will be exciting to have a couple RPM guys on the front row on Sunday. That is really nice for the whole company."
Kahne, who now has two poles at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval, laid down a 30.920 for a speed of 174.644 mph to topple Juan Pablo Montoya off the provisional pole but had to wait out the rest of those who would make an attempt -- it was a long wait as Kahne was the 11th driver in the qualifying order -- to seal his 3rd pole this season.
"We weren't great in practice so we knew we needed to make adjustments to the car," Kahne said. "Kenny Francis and Keith did a really nice job. Coming to the green I felt great. I got through one and two really good and got a little free in three and missed the entrance a touch. I was able to gather it back and get rolling but I gave away a little bit of time there and I noticed Paul Menard gained a lot there at three. Going out late he came really close to clipping us off."
While neither Kahne nor his teammate, who came out on the track late as the 31st qualifier, are in the hunt for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup but they continue to amass points for the season end tally of points needed for the future and for the pay out at the end of the season.
Paul Menard's time of 30.951 (174.469 mph) was good enough to knock Jeff Gordon off the front row by .007 seconds.
"We had a late draw which obviously helped us because we were able to listen to what other people were saying about the race track," said Menard. "We made a couple of little air pressure adjustments. The car was a little more free than what we had in practice. My RPM on exit corner was about a hundredth better than in practice so I thought it would be a better lap. These mile-and-a-half tracks are easy to overdrive and mess up your whole lap. I feel like I left a little bit out there."
Gordon was the highest qualifier in the top 12 Chase group with his best at 30.958 (174.430 mph) for the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team. He sits eighth in the points coming into the third Chase race.
"Oh, man, I feel like I'm on the pole right now," said Gordon. "It's been quite a while since we've qualified well; since like Darlington (when) I was in the top three or five, or three I guess, and then maybe Pocono since we were in the top five. We've just really, not that we haven't been trying hard; we've been trying really hard to qualify better. And I feel like it has been impacting our races."
Starting alongside Gordon will be Joe Gibbs Racing's young star. Joey Logano placed his Toyota fourth fastest with a time of 30.979 (174.312 mph). The team only ran a few qualifying setup laps as Logano stated, "We did a lot of race trim practice, that's for sure. I think we ran the most laps of anybody in the first practice.
"I felt like my car is good. As soon as we unloaded, we didn't have a lot of speed on the front side, but it hung in there for a long time and we made a long run off the trailer. We just tuned it a little bit here and there. We'll see what we have when we unload tomorrow. That's usually when you really know what you have for race trim, but I feel like we are going to be close," Logano added.