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Kahne on pole for Martinsville

Kasey Kahne claimed pole position for Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup at Martinsville Speedway, with Kevin Harvick alongside him on the front row.
Kasey Kahne's lap of 19.496s (97.128mph) on Saturday afternoon saw him claim his second pole position of 2012 and the 24th NASCAR Sprint Cup pole of his career - and the first that he's ever claimed on the half-mile oval Martinsville Speedway, the shortest and slowest track on the NASCAR Cup calendar.

"I've qualified decent Martinsville before, but never a pole," said Kahne after clinching the top spot for Sunday afternoon's Goody's Fast Relief 500 Cup race. "I was able to pull it off, barely," he said, adding that it "feels good" to finally pull it off.

"It's a tough track to qualify and a tough track to race. Always has been one of my tougher ones over the years," continued Kahne after the qualifying session, which had been pushed back because of earlier rain in the area. "I'm glad we can start up front, have a great pit stall - that #1 stall. I think that helps throughout the whole race."

Kahne's latest pole position means that the Hendrick Motorsports driver ties with Jimmie Johnson, and in the current field only Ryan Newman can claim more in the Chase era with 31 poles to his name. But Kahne knows that he needs to convert Saturday's pole success into Sunday points-winning performance.

"Hopefully, we'll have a solid day," he said. "That's what we need to do. We've had great Fridays and Saturdays but just haven't put together a Sunday yet."

Kahne's time was a slender 0.016s faster than Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, who will get underway alongside Kahne on the front row when the green flag comes out for what will be Harvick's 400th Cup race.

“We were a little bit too loose," said Harvick of his qualifying performance. "All in all, the car turned really well and that is really what we've been fighting so we fixed that problem. I don't believe that I had to let out of the gas much but it was still spinning the tyres."

Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer line up on the second row of the grid, with Newman and Brian Vickers right behind them on the third row - another impressive showing for Vickers who is car-sitting the Michael Waltrip Racing car this weekend while Mark Martin scales back to a part-time season in 2012.

Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano and Paul Menard comprise the remainder of the top 11, all of whom were within one tenth of a second of Kahne's pole time. The highest-placed Ford driver, Marcos Ambrose, narrowly missed out on that margin in 12th.




Related Pictures

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#5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet (Kasey Kahne) (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award with Miss Coors Light on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. (Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin in action. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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