KASEY KAHNE TAKES POLE POSITION FOR SUNDAY’S HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400 NEW TRACK RECORD AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY

KANSAS CITY, KS – October 19, 2012 – Kasey Kahne earned the pole position for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 by posting a new track record on the newly repaved and reconfigured Kansas Speedway with his No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet of 28.219 seconds, 191.360 mph. This marked Kahne’s 26th NASCAR Sprint Cup career pole and moved him into a tie for 26th on the all-time series poles list with Bobby Labonte. His lap around the 1.5-mile oval was Kahne’s fourth pole of the 2012 season and third in 11 races at Kansas Speedway.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

All 46 drivers in today’s qualifying session turned a faster lap than the previous track record of 180.856 mph set by Matt Kenseth (Ford) in 2005.

Three other Team Chevy drivers will start the 400-mile race in the top ten. Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Code 3 Associates Chevy will start sixth, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will roll off seventh in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy, and Kevin Harvick will start 10th in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet. All four Chevy drivers in the top-10 starting line-up are contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevy who is also in the Chase, will start 19th, and Tony Stewart, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and a Chase contender will start from the 33rd position in his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet.

The field of 16 Chevy drivers includes Regan Smith, substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 National Guard/Mountain Dew Chevrolet, qualified 39th; and Danica Patrick, competing in the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevy rolls off 40th.

The Hollywood Casino 400, Round 32 on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour, gets underway on Sunday, October 21st at 1:00 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN-TV.

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER

POST-QUALIFYING DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN OUT THERE TODAY: ?“It was a good lap. Our car felt really good. I came to the green as fast as I had throughout the practices. I got through (turns) one and two pretty good. In (turn) three I got in and then off of turn four I had to lift just a little bit, kind of lost the front tires, but still was able to run a quick lap there and get the pole. I was really happy. Our team has done a nice job this week. We have been here for a few days it’s been cold. The track is great I feel like the guys did a really nice job here at Kansas Speedway repaving making the track what it is. It is going to be tough this weekend, but from here out I think it is going to be one of the best tracks we go. I feel like you can look at it and tell the lines, the grooves that will come in as the track gets some wear into it and some age. I think it will be a lot of fun to race on. It’s smooth and all the transitions are really nice.”

EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THIS IS A NEW TRACK, BUT THIS IS YOUR THIRD POLE NOW HOW NEW IS IT TO YOU? WHAT IS YOUR SECRET HERE??“Well someone had to get it today (laughs) and it worked out for us. It was close. I didn’t see what Clint (Bowyer) ran but I know that myself and Mark (Martin) were really close together. It’s fast, it’s smooth, and it’s a great track. We have run pretty well here in the past so I’ve kind of always liked Kansas. I’ve liked how you have been able to move around and run a lot of different lines and things. I feel like this track will go there eventually. We will be able to move all over. It doesn’t really feel anything like the old track, but we just had a really good balance today and we were able to put down a good lap.”

YOU ARE STARTING FIRST, FIRST PIT STALL AND ALL THAT. BRAD (KESELOWSKI) IS STARTING 25TH CONSIDERING THAT THE SECOND GROOVE HASN’T WORKED IN YET HOW BIG OF AN OPPORTUNITY DO YOU THINK THIS IS TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND IN TERMS OF THE CHASE??“Well I think it could be a pretty big one. I think those guys will really figure out how to go fast in race trim. That is what they have done all season long. They haven’t qualified great really this whole year, but they know how to race. With strategy and however they will figure out how to get to the front if they are fast enough to stay up there. You know you will see the No. 2 car at some point. They have shown that all season long, but for ourselves we have a great starting spot, we have a great pit stall a lot of things from today will help us throughout the entire race not just the start of the race. I feel really good about where we are at and if we can capitalize and make the right decisions, get the right balance of the car hopefully we can gain some points.”

MARK MARTIN AND CLINT BOWYER TALKED ABOUT HOW TOMORROW’S RACE IS GOING TO BE EXTREMELY CRITICAL TO HOW WELL THE TRACK IS ON SUNDAY HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT SAME SITUATION??“I feel the exact same way. I think the rubber from tomorrows race, the rubber from our practices tomorrow we will have two hours of practices, all that will help the track. If it gets a little warmer around here, gets some sun out, I think all that will help the track also. To just get a better base to run on and hopefully move off that white line a little bit to where we can open up the entries and exits and have a better shot to pass if you are a good bit quicker than the car in front of you. Either way it’s going to be tough to pass regardless, but with all that rubber and the heat and things hopefully it will help some. That is really all we can ask for after a repave.”

COMING INTO A RACE TRACK WHERE NOBODY HAS ANY REAL EXPERIENCE RACING ON IT DO YOU SEE IT AS A REAL GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO MAYBE MAKE THE GAINS? WHAT DOES IT DO TO THE CHASE TO HAVE THIS KIND OF A THING THROWN INTO THE MIDDLE WITH ONLY FIVE RACES TO GO??“I think it’s a bit of a wild card. It’s not a Talladega wild card, but it’s a bit of a wild card because you have to pick up on the surface. The only thing to me is it is pretty similar to Michigan. The size of the track isn’t but the surface, the corners for whatever reason I think it feels really similar to Michigan. The guys that are running well right now ran pretty well at Michigan. I would say they will figure it out. We had a great run today but everybody will figure it out for Sunday. We just need to try to stay ahead of them if we can.”

YOU TALK ABOUT EVERYBODY UP FRONT WILL GET BETTER AND THAT MEANS YOU ARE GOING TO CATCH SOME OF THE CARS IN THE BACK WHO AREN’T AT THE SAME LEVEL AS THE REST OF THE TEAMS. HOW TOUGH IS PASSING GOING TO BE WHEN YOU GET UP TO A SLOWER CAR LIKE THAT??“Some of it you will be able to set up and you will be able to get by, but once you get to a car you can go back to Michigan for example. Mark Martin caught the No. 47 and No. 42 and they ran side-by-side and Mark just rode behind them. I caught them and I went to pass Mark next thing you know we are all crashing. It was just the No. 47 and No. 42 screwed up then we are all crashing. He (Mark Martin) didn’t go anywhere once he caught cars I think they were probably in 30th or 35th I don’t know how far back they were. Mark was at a dead stop. It makes it difficult for sure. This track is a little different than that track so hopefully we will have a better shot at passing and the longer those races went at Michigan the better the racing got and the more it opened up. The first race run there (Michigan) it was tough. You could hardly pass a car that you’d just reeled in that you were running five tenths a lap faster you couldn’t pass them when you got to him.”

Post-qualifying driver comments:

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER:
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: "Our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was awesome right there. It was great. I tried to get a little...I went into (turn) three, and felt like I could go wide open. So I went back to wide open, and then I started just chattering a little bit. So, I eased off the throttle and back down. I definitely gave up a little time doing that. So far so good though."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES CHEVROLET - QUALIFIED SIXTH
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: "It was a good lap for our Code 3 Associates Chevrolet. The guys did a good job making it better. I don't think we made it good enough; that is the problem. I think a couple other guys are going to be really fast, probably pushing the 27 second bracket."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SEVENTH
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: DID YOU SEE ELVIS ON THAT RUN? "I did, I saw him again. There is an old saying, drive it in the corner and don't hit the brakes until you see, and there's a few names that come about, and Elvis is the one I grew up hearing about. So, I saw Elvis again, and went a little further yet. I had a great lap. The car is very fast. It's awfully close up there at the top. It's hard to look back at the lap and see where I could have been faster because you are just driving your guts out, and really doing all that you can all the way around the track. You know it is fast; you just don't know if it is fast enough. We had a very solid lap with my Lowe's Chevrolet. I think we are going to be strong on Sunday. We've been here so many days, I can't figure out what day we are on, but we're on Friday, so come Sunday we'll be great."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH
HOW MUCH OF YOUR NOTES CAN YOU USE GETTING AROUND RACE TRACKS LIKE THIS ONE THAT ARE NEWLY REPAVED? “Well you never really know exactly what you need as far as travels and what the speeds are going to be. So you have to kind of get here. You have a basic plan and it’s like a lot of places we go to that are really smooth. We have had a lot of experience with repaves this year so we take that same kind of approach and go from there.”

WHEN IT COMES TO THE RACE ON SUNDAY WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU ANTICIPATE FACING UNDER GREEN FLAG CONDITIONS? “I think the hardest thing is just going to be passing. Hopefully, in the Nationwide race and the ARCA race the groove gets spread out. The bottom lane is still the fastest right now and that is going to be the way around.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 13TH
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “It was pretty good. This place is really fast right now so when you kind of are in practice you get that rhythm of going out there. We have been fighting just a little bit tight in practice. I got down into (turns) one and two and got right along the (white) line and it just got me a little free so I had to pedal it just for a second. When the speeds are this high if you pedal it just a little bit you lose a little bit of time. I’m happy overall so far the whole week has been really good. As a driver you always want a little bit more, but that should I think keep us right inside the top-15 which will be good for us and we will try to get it good for 400 miles.”

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAR IS GOING TO BE FOR SUNDAY? “I think it’s got out right speed so far the whole weekend. I think the speed is there, but the biggest thing is the fact that as you keep going out there on tires you keep getting quicker. Nobody has really gone out there on new tires and just run a ton. I think we will be alright. We definitely have good speed and track position is going to be everything so it’s the way that is going to play out. All of us have to be smart and not make any mistakes. I think if we can do that we can have a solid top 15 if not better on Sunday.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 7 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 41ST
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “I feel like anytime I’m not last it just feels good (laughs). For me the big indicator of how comfortable I am is how I can qualify the car. I definitely feel like we were making a little bit of progress today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do as many qualifying runs as I would have wanted to in practice because I came across the line after my second run and lifted, popped it out of gear, but when I popped it out of gear it ran into third gear. So, they had to change the engine and we weren’t able to do anymore qualifying runs. Shortchanged myself there, but I will definitely push the clutch in every time I take it out of gear from now on. We are steadily making progress and that is what this is for. I’m sure that the race will be even more as it seems to do every other time. I know it’s going to be tough to pass and I know we are not going to start in a great spot, but we will make the most of it and we will be better off next year that is what I keep saying. That is why we are doing this.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing