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Kahne takes pole in Kansas

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Friday, October 19, 2012

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kasey Kahne broke the Kansas Speedway qualifying record in winning the pole for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400, the sixth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Then again, everyone else who turned a lap in Friday's time trials also topped the old record on the smooth, fresh asphalt at the 1.5-mile intermediate track.

Kahne toured the speedway in 28.219 seconds (191.360 mph) to edge second-place qualifier Mark Martin (191.238 mph) by .018 seconds. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kahne's fourth of the season, the 26th of his career and his third at Kansas, tying him for most all time with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Clint Bowyer, who like Kahne hopes to gain ground on the top three drivers in the Chase -- Brad Keselowski, Johnson and Denny Hamlin -- grabbed the third starting spot with a lap at 191.130 mph. Kyle Busch (191.096 mph) qualified fourth, followed by Aric Almirola (190.988 mph).

You could argue, of course, that breaking a record doesn't mean all that much on a repaved, reconfigured surface -- in essence, a new race track.

What made the drivers pay attention, however, were the breathtaking speeds they achieved in topping Matt Kenseth's old mark of 29.858 seconds (180.856 mph) from Oct. 8, 2005. On a cool, blustery afternoon, defending Cup champion Tony Stewart said the cars were running "stupid fast."

And on a track where the second groove is not yet established and track position is at a premium, Kahne (fifth in the standings) has the opportunity to make a dent in his 35-point deficit to Keselowski, who qualified 25th. The same can be said of fourth-place Bowyer, who trails Keselowski by 28 points.

"I think it can be a pretty big [opportunity]," Kahne said. "I think those guys [Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe] will really figure out how to go fast in race trim. That's what they've done all season long. They haven't qualified great, really, this whole year, but they know how to race, and with strategy they'll figure out how to get to the front if they're fast enough to stay up there.

"You know you'll see the No. 2 car at some point. They've shown that all season long. But for ourselves, we have a great starting spot, a great pit stall -- a lot of things from [Friday] will help us throughout the entire race, not just the start of the race. So, yeah, I feel really good about where we're at, and if we can capitalize and make the right decisions and get the right balance in the car, we can gain some points."

Both Johnson (seven points behind Keselowski) and Hamlin (15 back) scored top-10 starting positions, with Johnson seventh on the grid and Hamlin ninth.

Cole Whitt, David Stremme and Josh Wise failed to qualify for the 43-car field. Danica Patrick posted the 41st-fastest qualifying time of the 46 drivers but will start from the back of the field after an engine change on Friday.

Regan Smith, subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (out because of a concussion), got loose in the first turn of his first qualifying lap and lost momentum, ending up 39th on the starting grid. Stewart will start 33rd, the deepest in the field of the Chase drivers.

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 191.360 28.219 Leader
2 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 191.238 28.237 -0.018
3 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women 191.130 28.253 -0.034
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Halloween 191.096 28.258 -0.039
5 43 Aric Almirola Ford Farmland 190.988 28.274 -0.055
6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Code 3 Associates 190.853 28.294 -0.075
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 190.840 28.296 -0.077
8 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 190.813 28.300 -0.081
9 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 190.718 28.314 -0.095
10 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 190.409 28.360 -0.141
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Sherwin Williams 190.389 28.363 -0.144
12 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Zest 190.376 28.365 -0.146
13 51 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 190.154 28.398 -0.179
14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / CertainTeed 190.134 28.401 -0.182
15 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 190.094 28.407 -0.188
16 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 189.940 28.430 -0.211
17 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 189.913 28.434 -0.215
18 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Black & Decker 189.827 28.447 -0.228
19 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 189.520 28.493 -0.274
20 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 189.367 28.516 -0.297
21 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Arctic Cat 189.268 28.531 -0.312
22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Kingsford 189.268 28.531 -0.312
23 98 Michael McDowell Ford K-Love / Curb Records 189.261 28.532 -0.313
24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Taylor Swift / Target 188.851 28.594 -0.375
25 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 188.772 28.606 -0.387
26 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 188.646 28.625 -0.406
27 37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce.com 188.633 28.627 -0.408
28 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 188.600 28.632 -0.413
29 78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 188.370 28.667 -0.448
30 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza 188.173 28.697 -0.478
31 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 188.147 28.701 -0.482
32 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 188.055 28.715 -0.496
33 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 187.859 28.745 -0.526
34 191 Reed Sorenson Toyota Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza 187.761 28.760 -0.541
35 195 Scott Speed Ford B&D Electrical 187.748 28.762 -0.543
36 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 187.578 28.788 -0.569
37 34 David Ragan Ford Client One Securities, LLC 187.474 28.804 -0.585
38 38 David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's 187.234 28.841 -0.622
39 88 Regan Smith Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 187.182 28.849 -0.630
40 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 186.896 28.893 -0.674
41 36 Dave Blaney+ Chevrolet TBR / TMone 183.773 29.384 -1.165
42 32 Timmy Hill+ Ford Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome 183.624 29.408 -1.189
43 179 Kelly Bires Ford Bestway Disposal / Re-Load.biz 187.285 28.833 -0.614
DNQ 33 Cole Whitt Chevrolet Moon Shine Attire 186.877 28.896 -0.677
DNQ 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 186.027 29.028 -0.809
DNQ 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport 182.500 29.589 -1.370

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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