Kasey Kahne claimed his fourth pole position of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season with a record-setting lap in qualifying for Sunday's Chase round at the newly repaved Kansas Speedway.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver denied veteran Mark Martin another pole. Martin's benchmark was beaten by the #5 Chevrolet with a flying lap at an average speed of 191.360mph, just a couple of hundredths faster than what the Michael Waltrip Racing driver had managed.
Given the track's resurfacing and reconfiguration, which included adding variable and increased banking in the turns, the whole field lapped under the existing track record. Kahne actually ran 1.6 seconds faster despite Goodyear's cautious approach with tire selection for the weekend.
"The car was awesome right there," Kahne said. "It was great. I went into [Turn] 3, and felt like I could go wide open. So I went back to wide open, and then I started just chattering a little bit. So, I eased off the throttle and back down. I definitely gave up a little time doing that."
Martin's teammate Clint Bowyer, fresh from his victory at Charlotte last week, was third fastest and also broke the 191mph barrier. Kyle Busch made it three Toyotas among the top four on the grid.
Richard Petty's Aric Almirola was the best Ford in fifth ahead of Stewart-Haas' Ryan Newman and Hendrick's Jimmie Johnson.
Joe Gibbs duo Joey Logano and title contender Denny Hamlin followed in eighth and ninth, respectively. Hamlin was running his back-up car after crashing his primary one during Thursday morning's test session.
Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick completed the top 10 ahead of Greg Biffle, who was unable to back up his speed from practice earlier in the day, having run a lap that would have placed him on the front row during the opening session.
Chase leader Brad Keselowski had yet another poor qualifying with only 25th place – his third consecutive start outside the top 20. But he is still expected to be a factor in Sunday's race at the track where he claimed his first Cup victory for Penske Racing last year in a fuel-saving run.
Michael McDowell was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 23rd. Cole Whitt, David Stremme and Josh Wise failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 28.219s
2. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 28.237s + 0.018s
3. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 28.253s + 0.034s
4. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 28.258s + 0.039s
5. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 28.274s + 0.055s
6. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.294s + 0.075s
7. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 28.296s + 0.077s
8. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 28.300s + 0.081s
9. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 28.314s + 0.095s
10. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 28.360s + 0.141s
11. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 28.363s + 0.144s
12. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 28.365s + 0.146s
13. AJ Allmendinger Phoenix Chevrolet 28.398s + 0.179s
14. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.401s + 0.182s
15. Sam Hornish Jr Penske Dodge 28.407s + 0.188s
16. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.430s + 0.211s
17. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.434s + 0.215s
18. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.447s + 0.228s
19. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 28.493s + 0.274s
20. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.516s + 0.297s
21. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.531s + 0.312s
22. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.531s + 0.312s
23. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 28.532s + 0.313s
24. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.594s + 0.375s
25. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 28.606s + 0.387s
26. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 28.625s + 0.406s
27. JJ Yeley Max Q Chevrolet 28.627s + 0.408s
28. Casey Mears Germain Ford 28.632s + 0.413s
29. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 28.667s + 0.448s
30. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.697s + 0.478s
31. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 28.701s + 0.482s
32. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 28.715s + 0.496s
33. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.745s + 0.526s
34. Reed Sorenson Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.760s + 0.541s
35. Scott Speed Leavine Ford 28.762s + 0.543s
36. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 28.788s + 0.569s
37. David Ragan Front Row Ford 28.804s + 0.585s
38. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.841s + 0.622s
39. Regan Smith Hendrick Chevrolet 28.849s + 0.630s
40. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.893s + 0.674s
41. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 29.384s + 1.165s
42. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford 29.408s + 1.189s
43. Kelly Bires Go Green Ford 28.833s + 0.614s
Did not qualify:
Cole Whitt Circle Sport Chevrolet 28.896s + 0.677s
David Stremme Inception Toyota 29.028s + 0.809s
Josh Wise Front Row Ford 29.589s + 1.370s