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Allmendinger on pole for Penske at Kansas

Penske Racing's AJ Allmendinger will start this weekend's Sprint Cup race from pole position at Kansas Speedway, with Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick alongside him.
AJ Allmendinger claimed his first Sprint Cup pole position since his switch to Penske Racing to replace Kurt Busch at the start of the year, with a late qualifying lap of 30.683s (175.993mph) putting him 0.043s ahead of Kevin Harvick.

"I didn't think that the lap was amazing, it was okay," said Allmendinger after setting his time on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval. "When Todd [Gordon, crew chief] told me the lap time, I was shocked by it!"

Allmendinger said it was proof that the team was coming together after the upset of Busch's departure from the team over the close-season.

"Every step we're getting closer. Todd Gordon and I are gelling together as driver-crew chief. The whole team is gelling," he said. "More than anything, I just love being a part of this race team. I put a lot of pressure on my shoulders to go out there and win races, win poles for these guys, because they're so used to it."

Happy as he was with pole position, Allmendinger knew that it was only one stop on the way to real success - a race victory.

"The important day is tomorrow, but today we're the best. That's all that matters," he said. "To get a pole like this and get in the [2013] Shootout and just keep building the momentum, it's a big deal today."

Starting alongside him on the front row, Kevin Harvick was ruing a small mistake that probably cost him the top spot.

"All in all I probably got a little excited getting into turn three and over drove the car a little bit. That probably, in hindsight cost us the pole," he said. "All in all it's been a great year qualifying wise for us so far. The cars have been fast every week. As soon as we put together the whole weekend without me making a mistake or things not going exactly right. I think everything is going to come together nicely."

The second row was a lock-out for the Joe Gibbs Racing team on Saturday, with Joey Logano setting the third fastest time alongside his team mate Denny Hamlin. However, an engine change will mean that Logano will be sent to the back before the green flag on Sunday afternoon; meanwhile the third member of the JGR stable, Kyle Busch, will start from a disappointing 25th place.

Mark Martin continued to revel in his part-time status in the Michael Waltrip Racing #55 car, starting from the third row alongside team mate Martin Truex Jr., with the third member of the MWR team Clint Bowyer on the fourth row alongside Hendrick Motorsports' Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"We weren't very good in practice so we made a lot of changes to the car and the car drove really, really good in our qualifying run. So that was a personal victory for the team, I think," said Earnhardt, admitting that his qualifying form had initially been so poor that he'd had to crib notes off of Jimmie Johnson to get into shape for the session.

Johnson had topped both of the earlier Cup practice sessions but could only manage 15th place in qualifying himself.




Related Pictures

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AJ Allmendinger celebrates his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and his No. 22 Penske Racing team on Saturday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
#22 Penske Racing crew chief Todd Gordon talks with driver AJ Allmendinger during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, poses in victory lane with his crew chief Greg Erwin after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, lead the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, races during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, talks to his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, on the grid prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet SS, qualifies for ninth position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Menard is 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eighth position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for seventh position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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