posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 08:15 AM
Kasey Kahne has
experienced an accelerated learning curve as a rookie on NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series, finishing runner-up twice and third in the last three races. Now,
he might even be ready to challenge Ryan Newman as the king of qualifying.
On Friday, Kahne captured his second career pole position and second in three races by earning the top starting spot for Sunday's Carolina Dodge
Dealers 400 Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway.The 23-year-old driver from Enumclaw, Wash., drove his Dodge around the 1.366-mile track in 28.638
seconds for an average speed of 171.716 mph, edging out Dale Earnhardt Jr. (171.154) for the pole.The new SAFER barriers on the outside wall in all
four turns seemed to cause not many problems.The steel and foam barriers, designed to cushion the impact of a crash, extend out from the concrete
walls about 30 inches. That's not much at most tracks, but it has narrowed the already tight Darlington turns considerably.Several drivers bounced off
the barriers, including two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip in qualifying and Ryan Newman in practice.