KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Every championship contender knew that starting position would be paramount at repaved Kansas Speedway, where getting to the front after the green flag drops could present a problem.
Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer will have the luxury of starting there.
Kahne earned the pole for Sunday’s race by shattering the track record with a lap of 191.360 mph, and Bowyer qualified behind Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Mark Martin in third Friday.
That was a fast lap, Bowyer said, basically summing up the lap turned by everyone. It’s unreal how much that gets your attention.
Kahne is fifth in points with five races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, while Bowyer is fourth after his win last week at Charlotte. Both of them are chasing leader Brad Keselowski, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.
It’s hammer-down, man, said Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kan. Looking forward to practice tomorrow. I think we’ve done a good job so far. Still got a long ways to go.
Not as far to go as Keselowski.
He’ll be one of the drivers trying to meander their way through the field over the repaved surface after qualifying 25th. The only Chase driver to qualify worse was three-time champion Tony Stewart, who will start 33rd Sunday.
We just have more work than we wanted, Keselowski said.
Track position is important. If you don’t qualify well, you just have to make sure that your car is fast in race trim, and that’s what we’ll try to do tomorrow.
Stewart wants NASCAR in Ohio
Stewart said he would like to bring NASCAR racing to the half-mile dirt oval in Rossburg, Ohio.
Stewart’s track has been mentioned as site of a possible Truck Series race, and the three-time NASCAR champion said he’d love to play host. But he said there’s been nothing beyond preliminary discussions at this point.
Around the track
Richard Petty Motorsports and Ford Racing said they will partner for a fourth consecutive season in 2013. RPM will also continue to lease its cars from Roush Fenway Racing and its engines from Roush Yates Engines.
Danica Patrick said she’s disappointed by the results in her first full Nationwide season. She believes the experience has prepared her for a full Sprint Cup schedule next year. Patrick, who is running both series this weekend at Kansas, will drive a third Cup car for Stewart-Haas Racing next year. She’s running a 10-race schedule for team owner Tony Stewart this year.
Formula One postponed the inaugural Grand Prix of America in New Jersey until 2014 because organizers didn’t quite know what they were doing. The race originally was scheduled for June 16 next year. The event is not going to happen in 2013 as planned, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said Friday. Everything is set up, but it’s now too late to finish on time.