Kahne breaks qualifying track record at Darlington

[media-credit name=”David Yeazell” align=”alignright” width=”256″][/media-credit]Kasey Kahne won the pole for Saturday nights Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with record lap of 181.254 mph. Jamie McMurray set the previous record a year ago with a lap of 180.370 mph.

“I think the first three times we qualified here we were on the pole when I first came into this series. I guess I’ve always just taken to qualifying at this place. I like running right against the wall and carrying the speed and the momentum. We hadn’t been quite as fast in a couple years and today we were really fast. It was great. The lap felt awesome. I knew we definitely had a good chance at the pole when I made the lap.” Kahne said.

Ryan Newman qualified second, Denny Hamlin third, points leader Carl Edwards fourth and seven-time Darlington winner Jeff Gordon qualified fifth.

American Muscle

“I didn’t know what we would pick up with the sun coming out. That first lap on the track was pretty nice because it was cool too. I’m just really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas. The Tornados Chevrolet was good off the truck and was good in qualifying. We got a good starting spot and good pit selection. We’ll just try to do our best for tomorrow.” Newman said of his qualifying run.

“It’s way better to start up front here and hopefully that will mean a good pit stall. I think that’s going to be good. If I had to do it all over again I could maybe go a little faster, but it’s still a good starting spot. The guys did a good job.” Edwards said.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think that’s about all that we had in qualifying trim. It was a big pick up for us. We’ve definitely didn’t run as fast as the 4 (Kasey Kahne) car ran, but our car was extremely fast in race trim. That’s something encouraging for us — we’re good in race trim and qualifying trim.” Hamlin said of his qualifying run.

“I’m really happy with the lap and real happy with the day we’ve had with this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. We made some qualifying runs. I think that’s paid off for us here, but that lap was pretty. I’ve got to admit the balance here at Darlington is tough to get from one end to the other because of the corner radiuses being different. But it was about as on-edge as you could be in (Turns) 1 and 2 and still hold it wide-open through there and still get through the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4 pretty good. I think it can be beat, but we’ll just have to wait and see.” Gordon said of his qualifying run.

Starting Lineup

Showtime Southern 500, Darlington Raceway

May 7, 2011 – Race 10 of 36


Pos. Driver Speed


1 Kasey Kahne 181.254

2 Ryan Newman 180.429

3 Denny Hamlin 180.132

4 Carl Edwards 179.98

5 Jeff Gordon 179.829

6 Marcos Ambrose 179.671

7 A.J. Allmendinger 179.448

8 Brian Vickers 179.259

9 Tony Stewart 179.108

10 Brad Keselowski 179.082

11 David Ragan 179.076

12 Jamie McMurray 178.88

13 Kevin Harvick 178.588

14 Kyle Busch 178.445

15 Bobby Labonte 178.381

16 Juan Montoya 178.264

17 Joey Logano 178.161

18 Paul Menard 178.103

19 Jimmie Johnson 178.038

20 Matt Kenseth 177.993

21 Travis Kvapil 177.987

22 Greg Biffle 177.955

23 Regan Smith 177.871

24 Jeff Burton 177.826

25 Kurt Busch 177.755

26 Clint Bowyer 177.723

27 Landon Cassill 177.672

28 Mark Martin 177.614

29 Martin Truex Jr. 177.083

30 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 176.721

31 J.J. Yeley 176.682

32 Casey Mears 176.391

33 T.J. Bell 176.239

34 Mike Skinner 176.201

35 Tony Raines 176.189

36 David Reutimann 176.126

37 David Gilliland 175.472

38 David Stremme 175.409

39 Michael McDowell 175.353

40 Ken Schrader 175.29

41 Joe Nemechek 174.6

42 Dave Blaney 174.229

43 Robby Gordon 174.167

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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