KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Championship contender Kasey Kahne shattered the track record at repaved Kansas Speedway on Friday, turning a lap of 191.360 mph to take the pole for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.
Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer were next fastest, and all 43 cars in the field broke the previous record of 180.856 set by Matt Kenseth in 2005.
Kahne is fifth in points with five races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, while Bowyer is fourth after his win last week at Charlotte.
“It’s hammer-down, man,” said Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kan.
Everyone is trying to catch Chase for the Championship leader Brad Keselowski, who will start 25th.
Only three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart qualified worse of the Chase drivers in 33rd.
Regan Smith qualified 40th in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car.
READY TO GO: Denny Hamlin feels “100 percent and good to go” after a hard crash at Kansas Speedway.
The championship contender was back in the car Friday, a day after hitting the wall at 202 mph during testing on the repaved surface, and qualified ninth at 190.718 mph for Sunday’s race.
Hamlin trails Keselowski by 15 points, and is seven back of Jimmie Johnson, who will roll off two spots ahead of him.
Hamlin was only a few laps into Thursday’s test session when he crashed entering Turn 1. He was examined at the infield care center despite driving back to the garage, and then had another series of evaluations an hour later, before he was finally cleared to resume testing.
TEAM REUNITED: Ryan Newman will soon be reunited with the crew chief who guided him to 12 career victories.
Under a restructuring at Stewart-Haas Racing, vice president of competition Matt Borland will also be crew chief of the No. 39 Chevrolet beginning next week.
Borland and Newman spent five seasons together from 2002-2006 at Penske Racing, where they won 12 races and 37 poles.
Tony Gibson will move to the No. 10 team to crew chief for Danica Patrick.
Team co-owner Stewart and crew chief Steve Addington are not changing.
TOGETHER AGAIN: Richard Petty Motorsports and Ford Racing will partner for a fourth consecutive season. RPM will also continue to lease its cars from Roush Fenway Racing and its engines from Roush Yates Engines.