A Perfect 10 For Kahne

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BROOKLYN, Mich. - Kasey Kahne captured his 10th career Bud Pole on Friday with a lap of 185.644 mph in qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The pole run could be a harbinger of success in Sunday's race for Kahne. He's now won four poles this season and won twice starting from the top spot.

Kahne's lap in his Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge was good enough to edge Jeff Gordon's speed of 185.543 mph for the top spot.

"That was a great run and we'll be starting out front on Sunday," Kahne said. "I'm looking forward to it."

"I was a little worried when Jeff Gordon went out," Kahne added. "He always qualifies well and I've seen him get the pole here before. It ended up close but we were able to get it. I was sweatin' for sure."

Kahne has become the circuit's leading pole winner this year, begging the question of whether the team has put any extra emphasis on qualifying.

"We really haven't," he said. "We made one run today, one lap in qualifying trim during practice. We worked on our race set-up the entire time and got the car comfortable."

Gordon missed the pole but will still start on the front row for the fourth time in the last five Michigan Cup races.

"You're always a little disappointed when you're that close and don't get it," said Gordon. "But my guys did exactly what they needed to do to this car."

Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Brian Vickers qualified third in the GMAC Chevrolet with another Hendrick driver, Jimmie Johnson fourth. Bobby Labonte rounded out the Top 5.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joe Nemechek, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer and defending race winner Greg Biffle completed the first ten qualifiers.

Ryan Newman, who holds the Michigan NEXTEL Cup track qualifying record, spun on the backstretch during his timed lap losing control of the ALLTEL Dodge out of turn two. Newman will start the No. 12 Charger from the 42nd position on Sunday.

Bill Lester qualified 34th and will start his second career NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday. Earlier this year at Atlanta, he became the first African-American driver to start in NASCAR's top division since Willy T. Ribbs in 1986.

"The first thing (at Atlanta) was just making the show and getting some experience," Lester said. "We came up a little short that time. This time, our objective is to race the whole distance, to go all 400 miles. We want to be on the lead lap. If we do that, we're going to be very satisfied."

Four cars failed to qualify for Sunday's race: Carl Long, Mike Garvey, Chad Chaffin and Jimmy Spencer.

Sunday's 3M Performance 400 will take the green flag at 1:40 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

        

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