Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualify in top 10 at Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned starting spots inside the top 10 during Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying session at Kansas Speedway. Johnson and Earnhardt were among the first eight drivers to qualify, and while they were able to overcame early draws at the 1.5-mile speedway, their Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne also held on for spots inside the top 15.
Gordon rolled out second during the 90-minute session and laid down the 14th-fastest lap.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS, was 20th in the order and posted the 15th-fastest qualifying time.
With four victories at Kansas, Hendrick Motorsports ranks tied for first among teams all-time at the 1.5-mile speedway. Johnson and Gordon each have two victories at Kansas to rank tied for first all-time with three other competitors. Gordon ranks first with eight top-five finishes, while Johnson ranks first with 12 top-10s and 556 laps led at Kansas.
Coverage of Sunday afternoon’s race is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN and MRN. Check local listings.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Kahne finished 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sept. 29. With the result, Kahne remains 13th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
At Kansas: In 12 Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas, Kahne has earned three pole positions, three top-five finishes, six top-10s and has led a total of 78 laps there. Most recently, he crossed the finish line second at Kansas in April and scored a fourth-place result in this race one year ago. Kahne, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman are tied for the most runner-up finishes at Kansas with two each.
Kahne (On the upcoming racetracks and finishing out the season strong.): “I think it’s a stretch where we can run well. They’re a couple tracks that we’ve been able to run up front at every time we go to them. Looking forward to that. Just trying to get back on track, finishing up the season strong. I feel like the leaders in the points, they’re kind of in their own race. We’ll just do what we can to finish off our year, and hopefully we can get a win or two at some of our best racetracks.”
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Coating Systems Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Gordon finished fourth at the Sept. 29 event at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. With the result, Gordon ranks fifth in the championship standings and trails leader Matt Kenseth by 39 points with seven races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
At Kansas: In 15 starts at Kansas Speedway, Gordon has recorded two wins, eight top-five finishes, 10 top-10s and has led 208 laps. Gordon’s eight top-five finishes rank him first overall and his two victories rank him tied for first all-time in Kansas.
Gordon (On the new Goodyear tire at Kansas.): “I really enjoyed racing on the tire in Atlanta, and I’m looking forward to racing on it again this weekend. Even though it’s been a couple races since it’s been repaved, I still think of Kansas as a ‘new’ repave. There’s more grip with the soft-side of the new tire, and I hope it provides more forgiveness on the smooth track.”
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Johnson earned his eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sept. 29. With the result, Johnson surpassed Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for first on the one-mile oval’s all-time wins list. Johnson also improved to second in the championship standings with the win and trails leader Matt Kenseth by eight points with seven races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
At Kansas: In 14 career starts at Kansas Speedway, Johnson has recorded two wins, six top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and has led 556 laps. Johnson’s two victories rank him tied for first all-time at Kansas. He most recently went to Victory Lane in the Oct. 2011 event at the 1.5-mile oval.
Johnson (On Kansas.): “I enjoy going to the track. There are certainly challenges with the newer surface and the new tire we will have. We will just have to get out there and see.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Time Warner Cable SS, advanced to 10th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings after finishing second at Dover (Del.) International Speedway last weekend. With seven races remaining in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Earnhardt trails leader Matt Kenseth by 57 points.
At Kansas: In 14 Cup starts at Kansas, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, one top-five finish and six top-10s. He has completed 97.9 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (3,609 laps of 3,686 total) at the 1.5-mile racetrack. The 38-year-old driver has led a total of 82 laps there.
Earnhardt (On having Time Warner Cable on the car in Kansas.): “I’m really excited that Time Warner Cable is part of the program. I’m real proud to be able to carry that logo on the race car. I’ve been a customer for quite a while now so it’s a privilege to be able to work with a company that I believe in, and I’m proud to be a customer of.”