News & Media


Kahne wins pole at Atlanta; Bowyer second

September 03, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Kasey Kahne ripped off a lap at 186.196 mph (29.775 seconds) Saturday to win the pole for Sunday night's AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kahne edged Clint Bowyer (185.922 mph) to win his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season and the 22nd of his career. Kyle Busch (185.841 mph) will start third in Sunday's race, followed by Brian Vickers (185.772 mph), Kahne's teammate at Red Bull Racing, and Jeff Gordon.

Atlanta

Lineup
Pos.DriverSpeedTime
2.C. Bowyer 185.922 29.819
3.Ky. Busch 185.841 29.832
4.B. Vickers 185.772 29.843
5.J. Gordon 185.735 29.849

* Out Front with Miss Coors Light: Rachel with Kasey

"It was a good lap," Kahne said in a bit of an understatement, given that he was the only one of 47 drivers to top 186 mph. "Coming to the green, I felt like I had a good car. It got away from me just a little bit off of [Turn] 4, and I just had to do the best I could. I was a little bit on the tight side, so I had to slow down more than I would have liked getting into the [first] corner, but once it did turn, I had tons of grip, and I was able to get off Turn 2 really well.

"Down the backstretch and Turns 3 and 4 were really good, too, so it just worked out well for us. It wasn't a perfect lap, but it must have been just a little bit better than everyone else's."

Kahne has two victories at the 1.54-mile track. He is 15th in the Cup standings, and a win on Sunday night would put him squarely in the mix of drivers competing for wild-card spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

"We need to win if we want to make the Chase," Kahne said. "We're just right there on the outside looking in right now, but I think we've got a decent shot at winning one of these last two races. Atlanta's my favorite race track, and we've got a great starting spot."

This is Kahne's only full season with the Red Bull team, which is up for sale. Kahne will succeed Mark Martin at Hendrick Motorsports next season.

Bowyer is another driver who sorely needs a strong performance to keep his Chase hopes alive. Currently 12th in the standings, Bowyer is 22 points behind 10th-place Tony Stewart.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Kasey Kahne scored his 22nd career pole in his 277th start, second at Atlanta (won the race in March 2006), and second of 2011 (Darlington); he's the seventh multiple pole winner in 2011.
• Kasey Kahne has two wins in 14 starts at Atlanta.
• Kasey Kahne was 10th-fastest in first practice, 13th-fastest in second practice.
• Red Bull scored its 10th career pole, first at Atlanta, and second of 2011.
• Toyota scored its second pole at Atlanta, and fifth of 2011; three of the top four were Toyotas.
• Clint Bowyer (second) posted his best start of 2011 and at Atlanta.
• Kyle Busch (third) has posted top-five starts in his past four races at Atlanta.
• Brian Vickers (fourth) tied his best start this season.
• Jeff Gordon (fifth) has posted top-10 starts in eight of his past 10 Atlanta starts; he was fastest in final practice.
• Brad Keselowski (14th) has finished in the top three in the past four races; he was fastest in first practice.
• Joey Logano (24th) is making his 100th career start.
• Tony Stewart (10th in points) qualified in the 20th position.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (ninth in points) qualified in the 29th position.
• Atlanta has been won by the pole winner 13 times, most recently by Kasey Kahne (March 2006); 14 racdes have been won from the first starting position at AMS.
• The worst starting position of an Atlanta winner is 39th by Bobby Labonte (November 2001).
• The average starting position of Atlanta winners is 7.5.
• The past 14 Atlanta races have been won from a top-11 starting position.

"It was an important qualifying run," Bowyer said. "We're not out of this thing -- we can't give up on it. And a good qualifying run is a breath of fresh air for all of us. We've been struggling a little bit in the qualifying category. ... She was loose -- holy cow! -- it was a handful. But it was a fun lap."