Kahne earns third pole of the season

Rookie sensation Kasey Kahne paced the field during time trials for the Nextel Cup teams at California Speedway. The lap of 186.940 mph, earned Kahne his third Bud pole of the season. "I was very pleased with the lap," said Kahne. "We were good...

Rookie sensation Kasey Kahne paced the field during time trials for the Nextel Cup teams at California Speedway. The lap of 186.940 mph, earned Kahne his third Bud pole of the season.

"I was very pleased with the lap," said Kahne. "We were good in practice, but to run three tenths quicker in qualifying says a lot for the team. They gave me a real good racecar. I'm really looking forward to Sunday. You feel the wind a lot in different spots of the corners. You definitely feel it going down the straightaways, but it didn't affect our car too much. That's a good thing."

Kahne leads the Raybestos rookie of the year standings by 32 points over Scott Wimmer, Brian Vickers, Brendan Gaughan, Johnny Sauter and Scott Riggs.

Veteran driver Joe Nemechek will share the front row with Kahne. He was second quickest, with a lap of 186.737 mph.

"I've got to thank this whole US Army team," said Nemechek. "These guys have given me an outstanding race car. This is the car we had at Texas. We led a good part of that race. I don't know if that'll hold up for the pole, but I got to show off what these guys gave me. It's an awesome race car.

"My teammate, Scott Riggs, is running good. So there are a lot of good things going. What we need is just a little bit of good luck during the race. If we can have that, we're going to have a great run."

Jeff Green earned his first top five start of the season, with a third place effort.

"That was a good qualifying effort," Green said. "My hat's off to all the Cheerios guys and everybody at Petty Enterprises. This is a brand new racecar. It's the first time it's been to the track today. Everybody has done a good job of stepping the program up, and me as a driver, too.

"We're happy, and we're gaining on it. Come Sunday I think we'll have a good car."

Scott Riggs and Brendan Gaughan complete the top five qualifiers.

"I'm pretty happy with it," commented Gaughan. "We gained three tenths. Let's see what everybody else gains. We're trying to get better each week with our Dodges, and anytime the driver doesn't screw up it's a good run. We were really solid in three and four. With any luck we'll stay in the top five, and it should be in the top 10 at least. I've always loved California Speedway. It's been good to me for a long time.

Point leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr. posted only the tenth fastest time, running a 185.529 mph.

"We thought we would have a much better qualifying effort than what we just showed," said Earnhardt. "I went down there into Turn 1 and the car just bottomed out the front valance and wouldn't really turn too good.

"But it was still a good lap. It was a good run. It was a good effort by us. This hasn't been one of our good race tracks even though we got a sixth place finish here last year. We haven't really gotten the good top five run we think we should get. Hopefully with a good starting spot it will begin a good day on Sunday and we can keep it up."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Joe Nemechek , Jeff Green , Scott Riggs , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Brendan Gaughan , Brian Vickers