Bristol qualifying: Kahne on outside pole; Gordon, Johnson in top 13
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kasey Kahne earned his second outside pole position of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the third of his career at Bristol Motor Speedway during Friday’s qualifying session at the .533-mile oval.
Kahne drove the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS around Bristol in 14.875 seconds at roughly 128.995 mph to record the No. 2 starting spot. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates will line up inside the top 32. Jeff Gordon will start 11th, while Jimmie Johnson will roll off the grid 13th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up 32nd.
THE CLEVELAND SHOW: Hendrick Motorsports teammates Earnhardt and Kahne will be featured on “The Cleveland Show” this Sunday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT. Click http://fox.tv/13KbQlo to watch a clip from the show.
APPEARANCES: Johnson, Gordon and Kahne have appearances scheduled for Bristol race weekend Click http://www.hendrickmotorsports.com/fans/events for more information.
POINTS REPORT: Johnson leads the driver standings going into this weekend’s race at Bristol, and Earnhardt ranks third (10 points behind Johnson). Gordon sits in 13th, while Kahne holds 14th after catapulting 17 spots in the standings thanks a to a runner-up result last week at Las Vegas.
SEASON-TO-DATE: Johnson owns the best average running position (4.220) and the best average finish (third) based on statistics compiled during the first three races of the Cup season. The driver of the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS also has spent the most laps running in the top 15, tallying 763 circuits of 783 total among the competition
BEST AVERAGE START: Kahne leads all drivers with an average starting position of fourth in the first three 2013 Cup events. In nine spring starts at Bristol, Kahne has lined up inside the top 10 six times and has an average start of 12th—prior to earning the outside pole on Friday.
BEST AVERAGE FINISH: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt has the best average finish among all drivers in the last 16 Cup races at Bristol. Earnhardt, who recorded eight top-10s during that timeframe, has an average finish of 9.9 and is the only drivers with an average finish in the top 10 during that span.
STRONG START: Earnhardt is off to the best Cup start of his career with three consecutive top-10 results and an average finish of 4.7 in the first three events of the 2013 season. Prior to this year, his best start was last year when he drove the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS to an average finish of 8.66 in the first three 2012 contests.
WIN LEADER: Gordon has the most victories and has led the most laps among active drivers at tracks less than one mile in length. The driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS is first in both categories with 17 victories and 7,891 laps led. Gordon sits second with 61 top-five finishes (Terry Labonte has 62 among active drivers); and Gordon also ranks second with 18 pole positions (Mark Martin has 19 at tracks less than a mile in length).
MILE-MARKER: Johnson can reach the 14,000 laps led mark this weekend if he paces the field for 60 circuits at Bristol. In 22 Cup events at the .533-mile oval, Johnson has led 789 laps and has averaged 93.25 laps led in the last eight events there.
GO-KARTS & FOOTBALL: Kahne took time out recently to compete with members of the media in go-kart racing and flag football in Mooresville, N.C. Click here to watch video of the experience held to promote this weekend’s race at Bristol.
HENDRICK AT BRISTOL: In 58 Cup events (183 starts) at Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 46 top-five finishes, 82 top-10s and 11 pole positions. Gordon is tied for first among active drivers with five wins at the track, while Johnson most recently went to Victory Lane there for the organization in March 2010.