Kahne Soars To Pole At Infineon
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Kasey Kahne’s high-flying qualifying run at Infineon Raceway on Friday put him on the pole for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Kahne, whose car went airborne off the road track’s curbing a couple of times during his run, turned a lap at 93.893 mph in the session.
The pole was the first of the season for Kahne, who won last year’s race at Infineon. A week ago, Kahne finished second at Michigan International Raceway.
The big air came in Turn Four.
“I might have jumped a curb, but that’s a lot different than a wheel hop,” Kahne said. “Actually, I jumped the curb and may have been a little too aggressive through there, but I didn’t slow up and didn’t lift off the throttle and came out of it without hitting that wall, so it seemed to be alright.
“I know I had at least two and maybe three, I’m not sure. It felt like my left-rear was still on the ground, so that was good. At least I had one of the four, but you just stay in the gas, I guess. That’s all you can do once you get to that point. My car was going pretty straight, so I just kind of stayed in it. They’re heavy cars, so they come down quick.”
Reigning and four-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was second fastest with a speed at 93.809 mph at the 1.9-mile track.
“It ended up being a good lap,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to tell inside the car. I knew I had good grip off the turns. We thought the car was a little slow in some other areas but certainly netted out to be a good lap time for us. We worked on qualifying trim throughout the day and I felt like if I had a little more to give to the team, we ended up 11th but a second off the pace. So I wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I knew I could push harder in a couple of areas and I did and made it. So, I’m happy about the effort and I’ve certainly been trying from my standpoint and I know the team has, to get a road course victory. If we’re able to start up front this weekend, that’ll be a step in the right direction.”
Kurt Busch was third fastest and point leader Kevin Harvick was fourth.
Jeff Gordon, the winningest road racer in series history, was fifth while Marcos Ambrose was sixth.
Tony Stewart was seventh.
Starting from the pole gives Kahne a great shot at a repeat win on Sunday as five of the 21 races at Infineon have been won from the No. 1 starting position.
Oh, and Kahne also seems to have graduated into the ranks of road course wizards.
“I think just experience,” he said when asked why is suddenly good on roads. “You get better as a driver on these types of tracks. You learn the cars better. You learn the course better, and just having better race cars, too. I think the speed of the car has been, the last couple of years, has been better than anything I’ve had in the past.”2 Comments