NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

 
       === Kahne tops in qualifying on Kansas Speedway's new pavement ===
 
 Kansas  City, KS  (Sports Network)  - Kasey  Kahne won  the pole  for Sunday's
 Hollywood  Casino 400 after he easily shattered the track qualifying record on
 the newly repaved Kansas Speedway.
 
 Kahne,  who  is in this  year's Chase for  the Sprint Cup championship, topped
 Michael  Waltrip Racing  drivers  Mark  Martin and  Clint  Bowyer in  Friday's
 qualifying  session  at  Kansas  with  a lap  at  191.360  mph.  The  Hendrick
 Motorsports  driver notched his  fourth pole of the season and the 26th of his
 Sprint Cup Series career.
 
 All  46  drivers who participated  in qualifying posted  a lap faster than the
 previous track record of 180.856 mph, set by Matt Kenseth in Oct. 2005.
 
 Sprint Cup teams have spent the past two days testing at Kansas to familiarize
 themselves  with the  new pavement and reconfiguration. The 1.5-mile racetrack
 now  has  variable banking  from 17 degrees  to 20 in  the turns. The previous
 banking in the corners here was 15 degrees.
 
 "I'm  really happy,  and our team has  done a nice job this week," Kahne said.
 "We've  been  here for a few  days, and it's been  cold. The track is great. I
 think  they did a really nice job here at Kansas Speedway, with the repavement
 and making the track what it is. It's going to be tough this weekend, but from
 here on out, it's going to be one of the best racetracks we go to."
 
 Martin, who is driving a limited Sprint Cup schedule for MWR this year, earned
 the  outside pole  with a lap at  191.238 mph. His teammate, Clint Bowyer, who
 hails  from nearby  Emporia, Kan., qualified third at 191.130 mph. Bowyer, who
 is a title contender, won last weekend's race at Charlotte.
 
 "That's an extremely fast lap for a mile-and-a-half track," Bowyer said. "That
 will  get your  attention. Unbelievable how fast that is, how fast that feels.
 You  go off into  turn one, and it's crazy the speed and inertia you get going
 into the corner."
 
 Kyle Busch took the fourth spot, followed by Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman.
 
 Jimmie  Johnson, Joey  Logano, Denny  Hamlin and  Kevin Harvick  completed the
 top-10. Johnson, Hamlin and Harvick are in the Chase as well.
 
 During  Thursday morning's test session, Hamlin crashed hard into the turn one
 wall. He complained of dizziness shortly after the incident. Medical officials
 at  the  track evaluated him throughout  the day and eventually cleared him to
 race.
 
 "I  feel 100  percent today," Hamlin said  prior to the start of Friday's lone
 practice  session.  "Thought I was  good yesterday,  and then obviously, I got
 better with every hour, but today after waking up, I'm 100 percent and good to
 go. Really, it's just business as usual for the weekend."
 
 Points leader Brad Keselowski qualified 25th.
 
 "We  just have more  work to do than we wanted for Sunday," he said. "Race day
 is  what counts,  and we  have some  more  practice time  to work  on the  car
 tomorrow.  Track  position is important.  If you  don't qualify well, you just
 have  to make  sure that your car is  fast in race trim, and that's what we'll
 try to do in (Saturday's final practice)."
 
 Keselowski  currently holds  a seven-point  lead over  Johnson and  a 15-point
 advantage over Hamlin. Bowyer is 28 markers out of the lead.
 
 Regan  Smith, who continues to substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88
 car,  qualified a  disappointing  39th.  Earnhardt Jr.  will  miss his  second
 race  due to a concussion he suffered during a multi-car crash on the last lap
 at  Talladega earlier  this month. He is hopeful to return to competition next
 week at Martinsville.
 
 Josh  Wise, Cole  Whitt and  David  Stremme are  those drivers  who failed  to
 qualify  for  the 400-mile  race at  Kansas, which is  scheduled to start just
 after 2 p.m. (ET).
 
 10/19 21:34:35 ET

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