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Kahne takes his first pole for Hendrick

Kasey Kahne took pole position for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with Kyle Busch alongside him on the front row.
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."

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.




Related Pictures

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Kasey Kahne wins the Coors Light Pole Award for the 15th Annual Kobalt Tools 400 with a track-record lap of 28.353 seconds, 190.456 mph on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev.. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]
Kasey Kahne celebrates his first Coors Light Pole Award with Hendrick Motorsports and 23rd pole in 291 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. His last pole came in September 2011 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]
Kasey Kahne signs a record third Coors Light Pole Award in nine races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday in Las Vegas, Nev. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, races to the finish line to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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