September 4, 2011 in Sports

Kasey Kahne wins pole on Atlanta’s slippery track

 
Associated Press photo

Kasey Kahne leaves his car after taking the pole position during Sprint Cup qualifying.
(Full-size photo)

Atlanta Motor Speedway’s slippery track made an impression Saturday during qualifying for tonight’s Sprint Cup race.

Kasey Kahne won the pole but made his 29.775 seconds around the track sound like a survival test.

Kahne said his car “got away from me a little bit” and he had to make an unexpected tap on his brakes coming out of a turn.

“It was definitely not a perfect lap, but it was a little better than what everyone else did,” Kahne said.

Kahne will start one spot ahead of Clint Bowyer, as two long shots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship will have another shot at a much-needed win.

Kahne, who called Atlanta Motor Speedway his favorite track, won the pole with a speed of 186.196 mph. He is 15th in the points race and acknowledged he must win today or next week in Richmond to have a shot to qualify for the Chase.

“We need to win if we want to make the Chase,” Kahne said. “Right now we’re one of the ones on the outside looking in.”

Kahne said he likes racing in Atlanta because the slippery track reminds him of his background on dirt tracks.

Kahne and other drivers said clouds over the track during qualifying affected the speeds.

Edwards rallies for win at Nationwide race

Carl Edwards worked his way from the back of the pack after a penalty in a pit stop early in the race and held off Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Starting from the pole, Edwards led the first 43 laps before being penalized for having equipment out of his team’s allotted space during a pit stop. He went to the back of the field but quickly moved his way through the pack.

Edwards won a battle with Kevin Harvick for the lead after the sixth caution ended with 19 laps remaining.

Nationwide points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came out of the restart in sixth but quickly moved up, passing Busch for second before finishing third.

NASCAR stars claim no disrespect for Obama

Four NASCAR stars will taking a pass on meeting President Obama at the White House say it doesn’t have anything to do with politics.

When word got out that Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards wouldn’t be going to the White House next Wednesday, it sparked plenty of chatter on talk shows and social media networks. There was speculation the four were making some sort of protest about Obama’s policies on behalf of a generally conservative sport.

Nonsense, insisted Biffle, who said he has to go to a two-day retreat in Minnesota for 3M, the major sponsor of his No. 16 car. The event has been scheduled for months and will be attended by clients from around the world.

Stewart also had a scheduling conflict, though he declined to go into details.

Eight other drivers who made last year’s Cup playoff, including five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson, plan to be there along with NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.

Power captures IndyCar pole at Baltimore

Knowing he needed a strong finish to win the pole at the Baltimore Grand Prix, Will Power summoned every bit of his racing ability against front-runner Graham Rahal.

Power used a late surge to earn his seventh pole of the season, a point in the Izod IndyCar Series standings and some peace of mind heading into today’s race on a difficult street course.

“The final run was absolutely everything I had in me. It was exhausting,” said Power, who completed his fifth and final lap in 1 minute, 20.2447 seconds to edge Rahal (1.20.3238).


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