BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kasey Kahne earned his second straight top 10 starting position at Bristol Motor Speedway during Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying session. The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will line up from the seventh position for Saturday night's race at the .533-mile oval.
Kahne's Hendrick Motorsports teammates posted qualifying times inside the top 32.
In 59 Cup events (187 starts) at Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 47 top-five finishes, 84 top-10s and 11 pole positions. Gordon is tied for first among active drivers with five wins at the track, while Kahne most recently went to Victory Lane there for the organization earlier this year in March.
Coverage of Saturday night’s race is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC and PRN. Check local listings.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Kahne finished seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 18. He ranks 11th in the driver standings and, with two victories this season, is in good position to earn at least a wild card bid in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS still could race his way into NASCAR’s postseason. The drivers that rank inside the top 10 automatically qualify, and Kahne trails 10th-place Greg Biffle by four points with three races remaining until the Chase field is set.
At Bristol: In 19 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kahne has one win, four top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He also has earned one pole position and has led a total of 456 laps. Kahne most recently drove the No. 5 Chevrolet SS to Victory Lane at Bristol in March after starting from the outside pole position and leading 109 laps. If Kahne scores the victory this weekend at Bristol, it will be the first time a driver has swept the track’s events since 2009.
Kahne (On the night race at Bristol.): “The Bristol night race is always one of the better races of the year. It’s one of the races I look forward to just because of the time of the season it is. I like racing there at night. It’s hot. It seems like tempers kind of get out of control there at times on the night race probably because it’s hot and you’re racing under the lights. We won the first one, and we ran really well there the last few times we’ve been at Bristol so I’m looking forward to trying to get another win and sweeping the season there.”
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Coating Systems Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Gordon began the 400-mile event at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 18 from the 13th position and came home with a 17th-place finish. With the result Gordon ranks 14th in the championship standings and trails 10th-place Greg Biffle by 26 points with three races remaining until the cutoff for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
At Bristol: In 41 Cup starts at Bristol at Bristol Motor Speedway, Gordon has recorded five wins, five poles, 16 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. His average starting position of 6.9 is best amongst active drivers as are his 2,713 laps led.
Gordon (On Bristol.): "I love this race and I love this track. This is one of the few tracks that when I get here, I usually make it a point to walk the track on Thursday night and soak it all in. With the high banks, the speed and the grandstands surrounding the entire track, this is just such a cool place and a cool experience."
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Johnson started third in the Aug. 18 event at Michigan International Speedway. Following a Lap 45 pit stop for two-tires, Johnson reported a potential engine issue to crew chief Chad Knaus. The No. 48 team retreated to the garage, where it was determined that Johnson’s day was done. He was scored with the 40th-place finish. He holds a 41-point lead over second-place Clint Bowyer in the championship standings with three races remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins.
At Bristol: In 23 Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Johnson has scored one win, seven top-five finishes, 13 top-10s and has led 789 laps. Johnson’s lone win at the .533-mile oval came in March 2010 after starting from the fourth position and leading 84 laps.
Johnson (On the night race at Bristol): “The night race in Bristol is awesome. I tell many, many friends, if they are going to pick one, that is the one that they need to come see and be a part of for a lot of reasons. I’m excited to go back. We run well there. I’d like to find a little bit more and really be a car racing for the win and go to Victory Lane again. I have high expectations and expect to go there and run really well.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS
Most recently: Earnhardt began the Aug. 18 event at Michigan International Speedway from the seventh position and led 20 laps in the early stages of the race. Then, while running seventh on Lap 135, Earnhardt suffered a cut right-front tire and made contact with the Turn 2 wall. After going behind the wall for repairs Earnhardt returned to the track for valuable points and finished 36th. He ranks seventh in the driver standings and holds a 20-point lead over 11th-place Kasey Kahne with three races remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins.
At Bristol: In 27 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored one win, seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. The 38-year-old driver has an average finishing position of 11.6 and has completed 98.9 percent of all laps he's attempted (13,365 of 13,513 total) at the short track. He has led 758 laps at the .533-mile oval.
Earnhardt (On Bristol.): “I like Bristol (Tenn.). I’ve always enjoyed going there as a kid and watching races. The Saturday night race is one of the best tickets in the series. It’s an exciting racetrack, and it’s a lot of fun for the drivers. You’re always in the middle of something every lap. It keeps you on your toes, and it’s a pretty tough racetrack. I enjoy the challenge and look forward to hopefully having a good weekend.”