Amanda Vincent, NASCAR correspondent
Kahne on the pole Bowyer, Kyle Busch start 2nd & 3rd
Kasey Kahne made a lap around Atlanta Motor Speedway in the No. 4 Red Bull Racing Toyota in 29.775 seconds on Saturday to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track. Clint Bowyer qualified second in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with a lap time of 29.819 seconds.
It was a good lap," Kahne said. "Coming to the green, I felt like I had a good car.
"It was a good lap," Kahne said. "Coming to the green, I felt like I had a good car."
Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers claimed the two second row starting positions on the starting grid. Busch made a lap in 29.832 seconds in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Vickers turned a 29.843-second lap in the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota, giving the Red Bull organization two starting positions within the top-four and Toyota three of the four starting spots available in the first two rows.
“I certainly feel like we’ve had some really good cars in the past few weeks,” Busch said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to come back to Atlanta and run strong.”
Drivers kept at least one eye on the sky throughout the qualifying session, as the sun peeked in and out of the clouds all afternoon.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a big different when you go out if you catch a cloud,” Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, said of the sun going in and coming out several times throughout qualifying.
Gordon ended up catching a break, as a cloud covered the sun during his qualifying run. With Mother Nature on his side, Gordon posted a lap of 29.849 second to become the first driver during the session to make a lap in under 30 seconds and take the provisional pole and knock Regan Smith’s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet that had posted a time of 30.270 seconds from the top spot.
Gordon held on to the provisional pole for a while until Busch went out eight cars later and claimed the spot. Busch held on to the coveted front position on the starting grid until Kahne came along an took it way.
Gordon wound up in fifth by the time the qualifying session ended.
Forty-seven drivers attempted to make their way into the 43-car race field. Drivers failing to make the race included T.J. Bell, Geoff Bodine, Tony Raines and David Stremme.