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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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet SS, finishes in seventh place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #14 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffeemate Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole Award backdrop after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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