Kasey Masterpiece!

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Kasey Kahne continued his mastery of Kansas Speedway by winning the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pole for Sunday's Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods.

Kahne's lap of 178.377 mph comes on the heels of his NASCAR Busch Series victory here last year.

The pole was Kahne's fifth of the year, tying him for the series lead with Kurt Busch. Kahne also has won five races, which leads all drivers in the series.

Kahne is trying to make a comeback in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. He fell to ninth in the point standings when trouble found him in last week's race. He first ran into the crashed car of Tony Stewart, then had a mechanical failure.

Kahne is excited about his chances in Sunday's race, a 267-lap event that begins at 1:10 p.m.

"I like racing Kansas; it's fun," he said. "I always feel good about Sunday (races). That's where we've been our best this year."

Kahne also will compete in Saturday's Busch race, the Yellow 300. The 200-lap race begins at 2:05 p.m.

Kahne trails series leader Jeff Burton by 182 points in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. Burton will start 10th in Sunday's race.

Championship contenders are spread through the Kansas field. Jeff Gordon, who is second in points, will start 11th with No. 3 Matt Kenseth eighth. No. 4 Denny Hamlin, a rookie, will start 25th with No. 5 Kevin Harvick starting 14th. No. 6 Mark Martin, the race's defending champion, will start 19th, with No. 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 12th.

Jimmie Johnson is eighth in points and will start third. Kyle Busch is the last driver in the title hunt; he'll start 13th.

Among local drivers, hometown favorite Clint Bowyer of Emporia, Kan., will start sixth with Carl Edwards of Columbia, Mo., 27th and Jamie McMurray of Joplin, Mo., 41st.

Saturday's schedule also includes the KansasSpeedway.com 100 for the U.S. Auto Club's Silver Crown division.

© 2014 Kansas Speedway

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