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AJ Allmendinger earns Kansas NASCAR Sprint Cup pole for Penske

AJ Allmendinger takes Kansas poleAJ Allmendinger claimed his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career pole in qualifying for Sunday's 400-mile race at Kansas Speedway.

The Penske racer improved on the previous benchmark set by Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, setting a time of 30.683 seconds, at an average speed of 175.993 mph.

Allmendinger's pole, the first for his outfit this season, capped a good day for the Penske organisation as Sam Hornish Jr, making his first Cup start of the season, was 10th, right ahead of team-mate Brad Keselowski.

"A pole here, hopefully a top 10 tomorrow and having a chance to win the race, these are just little things to keep building momentum," said Allmendinger after his first Penske pole, which also made him the seventh different polesitter in eight Cup races this year.

"It's a big deal today. The important day is tomorrow but for one day we're the best and it's all that matters now."

Behind Harvick, Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano was third despite being first in the order after sitting out the first practice session on Friday due to an engine failure, which automatically sends him to the back of the grid.

That promoted his team-mate Denny Hamlin to third, ahead of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas of Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr.

Hendrick Motorsports' Dale Earnhardt Jr split the MWR trio as Clint Bowyer was eighth fastest behind him. Earnhardt's team-mate Kasey Kahne was ninth, ahead of Hornish's Penske Dodge, the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers.

Jimmie Johnson, the most recent winner at Kansas, who had also topped final practice on Friday, was 15th after saving a sideways moment during his run. Points leader Greg Biffle was 17th despite being the fastest of the Roush Fenway Fords, while reigning champion Tony Stewart was 23rd in his Stewart Haas Chevrolet.

Tim Andrews, Jeff Green and Tony Raines failed to make the field.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                     Time       Gap
 1.  AJ Allmendinger     Penske Dodge                 30.683s
 2.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          30.726s  + 0.043s
 3.  Joey Logano         Gibbs Toyota                 30.730s  + 0.047s
 4.  Denny Hamlin        Gibbs Toyota                 30.740s  + 0.057s
 5.  Mark Martin         Waltrip Toyota               30.772s  + 0.089s
 6.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota               30.779s  + 0.096s
 7.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet           30.802s  + 0.119s
 8.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota               30.804s  + 0.121s
 9.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet           30.841s  + 0.158s
10.  Sam Hornish Jr      Penske Dodge                 30.842s  + 0.159s
11.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Dodge                 30.846s  + 0.163s
12.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet          30.870s  + 0.187s
13.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       30.877s  + 0.194s
14.  Kurt Busch          Phoenix Chevrolet            30.879s  + 0.196s
15.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet           30.892s  + 0.209s
16.  David Reutimann     Baldwin Chevrolet            30.892s  + 0.209s
17.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford            30.909s  + 0.226s
18.  Matt Kenseth        Roush Fenway Ford            30.948s  + 0.265s
19.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet          30.977s  + 0.294s
20.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet           30.988s  + 0.305s
21.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            30.991s  + 0.308s
22.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford               31.004s  + 0.321s
23.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       31.009s  + 0.326s
24.  David Stremme       Inception Toyota             31.029s  + 0.346s
25.  Kyle Busch          Gibbs Toyota                 31.031s  + 0.348s
26.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                   31.034s  + 0.351s
27.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford               31.044s  + 0.361s
28.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                   31.059s  + 0.376s
29.  Regan Smith         Furniture Row Chevrolet      31.078s  + 0.395s
30.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota         31.080s  + 0.397s
31.  JJ Yeley            Robinson-Blakeney Toyota     31.121s  + 0.438s
32.  Landon Cassill      BK Toyota                    31.144s  + 0.461s
33.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet            31.145s  + 0.462s
34.  Scott Riggs         R3 Chevrolet                 31.169s  + 0.486s
35.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                    31.174s  + 0.491s
36.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet  31.181s  + 0.498s
37.  Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                 31.186s  + 0.503s
38.  Josh Wise           Front Row Ford               31.258s  + 0.575s
39.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet  31.303s  + 0.620s
40.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                 31.398s  + 0.715s
41.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                 31.464s  + 0.781s
42.  Reed Sorenson       FAS Lane Ford                31.754s  + 1.071s
43.  Mike Bliss          Humphrey Smith Toyota        31.506s  + 0.823s

Did not qualify:

     Tim Andrews         Go Green Ford                31.581s  + 0.898s
     Jeff Green          Falk Chevrolet               31.808s  + 1.125s
     Tony Raines         Turn One Chevrolet           31.869s  + 1.186s
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Hamlin denies Truex at Kansas