Kasey Kahne was celebrating his first pole position since moving to Hendrick Motorsports with a record lap of 28.353s (190.456mph) in Friday evening qualifying.

"It was a good lap, we carried a lot of speed to the line," said Kahne after his qualifying lap. "I got through 1 and 2 really well. When I got to 3, I was a little bit tight and just had a little more wheel than what I would have liked coming off of 4 and back to the line.

"So I knew I was a little on the tight side, but I still felt like it was a good run and the Hendrick engine runs so well it pulls you there," he continued. "I was on the gas and these Hendrick engines run so well. I felt good about it but it definitely wasn't a perfect lap."

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Not perfect, perhaps - but still better than anyone else, pipping Kyle Busch to the pole by 0.062s to give Kahne his first pole since Atlanta last September, his 23rd pole in 291 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Three of those have now come at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, so the high-banked D-shaped 1.5-mile oval is clearly a track that suits the former Red Bull Racing driver.

Kahne's looking for a good recovery after wasting a strong opportunity in last weekend's race.

"Last weekend, we had as good a car as anybody at Phoenix. I qualified well, was really good in practice - the best car in practice - and then in the race, we just needed to do things right and be there at the end," he said. "I made a mistake, and we lost a lot of points because of that. We had a rough day because of a mistake I made," he admitted, saying that it was down to him to make amends for that disappointment.

Alongside him for Sunday's green flag start, Kyle Busch was happy enough with the remaining slot on the front row - especially given that he had lost most of his track time in the earlier Friday practice session after his car was damaged running over debris from Juan Montoya hitting the wall.

"It was really good: the car felt great, laid down a good lap," said the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. "Wasn't sure it was going to be that good, but considering practice we were really loose and we only got a couple runs in. Didn't quite get the setup the way we wanted to and gave us an early draw. Maybe that's what hurt us a little bit."

Vegas is actually Busch's home event, and he's been on pole here twice before. He admitted that being the home town boy put him under more of a spotlight at Vegas than anywhere else.

"Certainly, there's added pressure on just from myself or feeling like you really want to run well here in front of the hometown crowd and being able to go out there and be successful here," he agreed. "Definitely more stressful for sure. Coming to Las Vegas, it's always fun of course to be able to come back home and see friends and everything like that, but it's more stressful when you get to the race track because you want to do well."

Kevin Harvick will start alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the second row of the grid.

"The cars have been really fast the last two weeks here, said Harvick. "When we qualify that close to the front, it's usually going to be a great weekend. It should be a lot of fun."

"We struggled in qualifying last year and wanted to work on that this year and this is a good result, so hopefully we're making some gains," said Earnhardt of his own qualifying attempt. "The run was a good run. I'm pretty happy with how we ended up."

Less happy was Kahne and Earnhardt's third Hendrick team mate, Jimmie Johnson, who had really been expecting something better than sixth place on the grid after topping the earlier practice session by one thousandth of a second over Clint Bowyer. Bowyer himself ended up qualifying alongside Johnson for the third row.

"I'm bummed," Johnson admitted. "I really thought we had one there. I got through 1 and 2 okay but had a little trouble in 3 and 4. Something wasn't just right there and I think I know what it was.

"Oh well," he sighed. "We will suck it up and just go out there and win the Kobalt Tools race on Sunday."

Scott Riggs and Robby Gordon were the two cars to miss out on making the 43-car grid. Josh Wise was the fastest qualifying rookie in 33rd in the #26 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion.

"It means a lot because this deal is real important to me," said Wise. "I'm putting my all into it and want to do the best I can with it and I've got good cars with these guys at Front Row Motorsports.

"I hope we can keep doing this every week and be one of the faster go-or-go home cars like this because it's pretty cool," he added. "But it's a lot of stress! I think I've taken a couple years off my life just in the last few weeks."

Other drivers making the grid on the basis of their qualifying lap time were Trevor Bayne, JJ Yeley, Dave Blaney, Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, Timmy Hill and David Stremme.

Full qualifying times and positions available.
Full Friday practice 1 times are also available.