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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)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Johnson advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS races to win Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with his daughter, Ella Sofia Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory win Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick drives the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet back to pit road after cutting a tyre during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, lead the field to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, and Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover sInternational Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets ready to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets ready to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified for sixth position Friday, September 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon is in the Chase. Sunday will determine who advances to the next phase of the Chase, the Contender 12.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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