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Kahne on pole at 'stupid fast' Kansas

Kasey Kahne took pole position at the newly repaved Kansas Speedway, which saw the entire field go dramatically faster in qualifying for this weekend's Hollywood Casino 400 on Friday.
There was no question that the recent repaving work at Kansas Speedway had transformed how the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars performed at the 1.5-mile tri-oval as they got their first run at the new-look circuit this week.

The previous lap record for the venue had been Matt Kenseth's 180.856mph effort set way back in 2005: but in Friday's qualifying session for this weekend's Hollywood Casino 400, every single one of the 46 cars participating broke that record - even the three who failed to qualify for the grid who were Cole Whitt, David Stremme and Josh Wise.

"It's fast, it's smooth, and it's a great track," said Kasey Kahne, who claimed pole with a time of 28.219s (191.360mph). "Our car felt really good. I came to the green as fast as I had throughout the practices. I got through one and two pretty good. In three I got in and then off of turn four I had to lift just a little bit, kind of lost the front tyres, but still was able to run a quick lap there and get the pole. I was really happy."

Kahne is hopeful of a good performance in the race itself on Sunday, which marks the beginning of the second half of the 2012 Chase.

"We have run pretty well here in the past so I've kind of always liked Kansas," he said. "I've liked how you have been able to move around and run a lot of different lines and things - I feel like this track will go there eventually. We will be able to move all over. It doesn't really feel anything like the old track, but we just had a really good balance today and we were able to put down a good lap."

As well as being repaved, the circuit has also added variable and increased banking to the configuration of the venue. But having such a radically transformed and therefore completely unfamiliar track at this critical point of the Chase could prove a major factor in who heads into the final stretch of the 2012 season still in contention.

"I think it's a bit of a wild card," agreed Kahne. "It's not a Talladega wild card, but it's a bit of a wild card because you have to pick up on the surface. The only thing to me is it is pretty similar to Michigan. The size of the track isn't but the surface, the corners for whatever reason I think it feels really similar to Michigan. The guys that are running well right now ran pretty well at Michigan - I would say they will figure it out.

"We had a great run today but everybody will figure it out for Sunday," he added. "We just need to try to stay ahead of them if we can."

Kahne's time was just 0.018s ahead of veteran campaigner Mark Martin who will join him on the front row for the green flag on Sunday. Martin's team mate at Michael Waltrip Racing, Clint Bowyer, will start from row two alongside Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch, making it three Toyota-powered cars in the top four.




Related Pictures

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Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, talks with Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota, after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 19, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, stands next to his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 19, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole board after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies in second position Friday, February 27, 2015 for a front row position start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kyle Larson, driver of the #4 Energizer Chevrolet SS qualifies in sixth position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Regan Smith, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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