Kasey Kahne is the first two-time pole winner of the season in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series after he posted the fastest lap in qualifying Saturday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
He’ll start today’s race 27th in points, and hopes it’s the start of a turnaround in fortune.
“We have had great Fridays and Saturdays and just haven’t put together a Sunday yet,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “Hopefully (today) will be a nice start to a really good season.”
Kahne, who also started first at Las Vegas, toured the 0.526-mile oval at 97.126 mph, depriving Kevin Harvick of a sweep of weekend qualifying at the track. Harvick, who won the pole for Saturday’s truck series race earlier, had a run at 97.048.
The pole is the 24th of Kahne’s career, and first in 17 starts on the oldest, shortest track in the premier series. He said patience will be key at the start of the 500-lap event.
“When you come to Martinsville, until about lap 250 you really don’t know what you have,” he said. “You can lead the race early, you can slide around and be slow early and after about lap 250, 300, that is when you finally realize how good your car is or how bad it is.”
Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick led all but two laps and won the spring NASCAR Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway for the third time in the past four years.
The former truck team owner yielded the top spot to teammate Ty Dillon for the fourth and fifth laps, but left no doubt which truck was best in leading a series-record 248 laps.
Helio Castroneves continued a strong start by capturing the pole for today’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham.
Castroneves turned in a fast lap of 1:10.4768 in Saturday’s qualifying after opening with a win at St. Petersburg.
James Hinchcliffe earned his best career start at second, in 1:10.5222, followed by Scott Dixon (1:10.5291) and Mike Conway (1:10.6791).
Defending champion Will Power failed to advance into the Fast 6 after winning the event’s first two poles.