AJ Allmendinger earns Kansas NASCAR Sprint Cup pole for Penske
|By Diego Mejia||Saturday, April 21st 2012, 17:51 GMT|
AJ 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