Kasey Kahne put up a 50.017-second lap in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during qualifying on Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday's Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track.
"Feels good," Kahne said of starting in the front. "These guys do a great job. They've really prepared a great car."
A lot of preparation at Hendrick Motorsports for this.
"I'm just really proud of the guys," Newman said. "My job is a very small percentage of what that lap was all about."
Clint Bowyer qualified third with a 50.105-second lap in the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
"I'm blown away," Bowyer said. "Shocked that we were top-three. Very, very proud of (crew chief Brian) Pattie and everybody on our 5-Hour Energy Toyota with the support of the Avon Foundation and everything we've got going on. We haven't been qualifying very good on these restrictor-plate tracks and today it caught me off guard."
After Newman grabbed the provisional pole somewhat early in the qualifying session, his teammate, Tony Stewart in the No. 14 joined him on the provisional front row with a 50.138-second lap, but Bowyer eventually separated the two teammates.
Several cars later, Kahne went out and knocked all three down a notch with his pole-winning run. Stewart wound up fourth.
"A lot of preparation at Hendrick Motorsports for this," Kahne said soon after climbing out of his car. "Hope it holds up. It was a great lap." The lap, indeed, held up for Kahne's third pole of the season, his first since claiming the top starting spot at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway back in April.
Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five with a 50.148-second lap in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
"We ran the top," Biffle said. "It seemed like the fast guys were doing that, but just a little breeze of wind can affect you because it's so tight with the times up front. We thought we'd be a little bit faster than that."
Six Chase drivers qualified in the top-10. Joining Chasers Kahne, Bowyer, Stewart, Biffle and Gordon in the top-10 was Martin Truex Jr., who qualified ninth in the No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
Denny Hamlin will start his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota the farthest back of any of the 12 Chase drivers from the 23rd spot on the grid.
Three other non-Chasers other than Newman qualified in the top-10. Carl Edwards was seventh in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Trevor Bayne eighth in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, and Sam Hornish Jr. was 10th in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge.
Only 43 cars made qualifying attempts, so every driver who made an attempt received a spot on the starting grid.