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Kahne on pole at 'stupid fast' Kansas

"Can't remember it happening before," said Hamlin after being advised by NASCAR officials to get a checkup. "But honestly, the severity of it, and the speeds we were running, it probably was a wise thing to do anyway.

"I felt the need just to make sure I was okay," he continued. I don't want to be endangering myself or anyone else on the track. They seem to think I'm fine, I feel like I'm good, so we're just going to move on with our day."

Hamlin's accident happened in the first hour of the extra track time Cup drivers got at Kansas on Thursday as a result of the repaving work that's just been completed at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. He clipped the wall with the rear of the car in turn 1, overcorrected and headed into the wall in turn 2.

"He was sideways way, way early, and I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, and then I saw him get on the apron and he was in trouble, man," said Clint Bowyer who had just been heading out onto the track when Hamlin's accident happened. "He hit hard."

There's no Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 car again this week because of his concussion diagnosis, and stand-in driver Regan Smith could only manage 39th in qualifying on Friday. Kurt Busch - who replaced Smith in the #78 Furniture Row Racing car - will start from 26th position.

Other notable qualifiers included AJ Allmendinger in his second week back in the series with Phoenix Racing to claim an impressive 13th place on the grid. "I got down into one and two and got right along the line and it just got me a little free so I had to pedal it just for a second," Allmendinger said.

"When the speeds are this high if you pedal it just a little bit you lose a little bit of time," he explained. "We definitely have good speed, and track position is going to be everything so it's the way that is going to play out. All of us have to be smart and not make any mistakes. I think if we can do that we can have a solid top 15 if not better on Sunday."

In a part-time season consisting of only 10 races in the top series while concentrating on Nationwide, Danica Patrick's latest Cup outing saw her down in 40th position.

“I feel like anytime I'm not last it just feels good," she laughed. "For me the big indicator of how comfortable I am is how I can qualify the car. I definitely feel like we were making a little bit of progress today. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do as many qualifying runs as I would have wanted to in practice because I came across the line after my second run and lifted, popped it out of gear, but when I popped it out of gear it ran into third gear.

"We are steadily making progress and that is what this is for," she added. "I'm sure that the race will be even more as it seems to do every other time. I know it's going to be tough to pass and I know we are not going to start in a great spot, but we will make the most of it and we will be better off next year," when she intends to transition to Cup racing full-time.




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