JOLIET, Ill. - Kasey Kahne won't start on the pole for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400. That's good news for the other 42 drivers in the race.
Kahne, however, will be driving the car he's used in all four of his victories this year -- three of those started from the pole.
Although Kahne didn't win the pole Friday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway, he came close. His speed of 180.687 mph was third-fastest.
"I think when holes open and you're racing and there's a shot to pass a car in front of you, a shot to get a couple of cars, you take it and go for it," Kahne said. "This car is quick enough that you can get through those holes. Some cars might not make it in time. I think the car basically just handles so much better than some of the other cars on the track. They work on it. They really took a lot of time building this car. They just finished three more identical to it, getting ready for the end of the season.
"We know when we go to the track it's going to be fast because it has four wins. At the same time, it's probably pretty similar to some of the other cars. We've hit on some things with this car. We've had some luck with it, too. Look at Michigan. A lot of things could have changed the results there. You just never know. It's definitely a good car."
Jeff Burton won the pole at 181.647 mph. He will start first in Sunday's main event (3 p.m., TNT).
Tony Stewart, who won last Saturday's race at Daytona International Speedway, qualified 34th.
TOYOTA ON TRACK: Bill Elliott will drive a Chevrolet in Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 as part of Toyota Racing Development's move into the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
Although Elliott wasn't in the new Camry that's supposed to hit the track next year, the purpose of his appearance at Chicagoland Speedway is to give Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing a running start.
Michael Waltrip, who drives a Dodge this year, said he wants to learn about the aerodynamics of the Chevrolet. He also wants his crew to get adjusted to working the garage area and on pit road.
Elliott, who is considering a full-time return to the sport, qualified 24th. He was guaranteed a spot in the starting lineup because he's a former series champion.
PIT STOPS: The hottest rumor in the garage area won't go away. If the Nextel Cup series is going to add a second race to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it's news to them. Racetrack officials called the rumor "interesting" but said they haven't heard anything official. Stay tuned. ... Kyle Petty and John "The Penguin" Bingham will team up for the Victory Junction Run Half Marathon and 4.5K Victory Lap walk Dec. 2. Proceeds from the run will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp for seriously ill children.
Reach Don Coble at firstname.lastname@example.org