Momentum Continues For Allmendinger With Pole Win

AJ Alllmendinger and the No. 22 team win the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Allmendinger marks the seventh pole winner in seven races. (Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kan.,—A.J. Allmendinger will start on the pole for Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Allmendinger becomes the seventh different poll winner in seven Sprint Cup Races in 2012.

“It’s way better than I’ve ever qualified here,” Allmendinger said of the 175.993 mph lap. “We’re getting there; we’re not where we want to be yet, but getting closer.”

“We’re trying to build momentum,” added Allmendinger. “I put so much pressure on my shoulders to perform, and ultimately it’s good but the bigger picture is tomorrow.”

Kevin Harvick qualified second with a speed of 175.747 mph regardless of the team’s struggles during Friday practice sessions.

“The guys did a great job getting the car where it needed to be grip-wise today,” said Harvick. “I think our worst qualifying so far was 15th, so they’ve put a lot of effort into working on the balance and the things it takes to qualify good.”

Joey Logano (175.724 mph) may have qualified third, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will start at the back of the field as the green flag drops. The No. 20 team changed engines during the first practice forcing Logano to miss track time on Friday that would have allowed for mock qualifying runs.

“We changed engines before we even got out of third gear,” said Logano. “She blew up getting on the racetrack.”

The lack of practice time is not ideal, but not as detrimental to a good finish as starting at the back. Logano and team relied on teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch for setups and changes needed to qualify well.

“Missing practice wasn’t that big of a deal – it is a big deal, don’t get me wrong, but having to start at the back is a bigger deal,” said Logano. “It’s frustrating no matter where you qualify to have to go to the back, but you go out there and you try to get the pole and you try to go as fast as you can.”

“We used qualifying as a momentum builder and a confidence builder for the team,” Logano added.

Hamlin qualified fourth with a speed of 175.667 mph, and Mark Martin (175.484 mph) rounded out the top-five qualifiers.

Martin Truex, Jr. (175.444 mph) qualified sixth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (175.313 mph) was seventh, and Clint Bowyer (175.302 mph) was eighth. Kasey Kahne’s lap of 175.092 mph was fast enough for ninth, and Sam Hornish Jr. (175.086 mph) qualified on speed to round out the top-10.

Josh Wise (172.756 mph) was the fastest rookie, qualifying in 38th. Three drivers did not qualify, Andrews, Jeff Green and Tony Raines.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – STP 400

Kansas Speedway

Kansas City, Kansas

Saturday, April 21, 2012

1. (22)   AJ Allmendinger, Dodge, 175.993 mph.

2. (29)   Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 175.747 mph.

3. (20)   Joey Logano, Toyota, 175.724 mph.

4. (11)   Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 175.667 mph.

5. (55)   Mark Martin, Toyota, 175.484 mph.

6. (56)   Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 175.444 mph.

7. (88)   Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 175.313 mph.

8. (15)   Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 175.302 mph.

9. (5)    Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 175.092 mph.

10. (12)  Sam Hornish Jr.(i), Dodge, 175.086 mph.

11. (2)   Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 175.063 mph.

12. (31)  Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 174.927 mph.

13. (39)  Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 174.887 mph.

14. (51)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 174.876 mph.

15. (48)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 174.803 mph.

16. (10)  David Reutimann, Chevrolet, 174.803 mph.

17. (16)  Greg Biffle, Ford, 174.706 mph.

18. (17)  Matt Kenseth, Ford, 174.486 mph.

19. (27)  Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 174.323 mph.

20. (24)  Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 174.261 mph.

21. (99)  Carl Edwards, Ford, 174.244 mph.

22. (38)  David Gilliland, Ford, 174.171 mph.

23. (14)  Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 174.143 mph.

24. (30)  David Stremme, Toyota, 174.031 mph.

25. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 174.020 mph.

26. (43)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 174.003 mph.

27. (34)  David Ragan, Ford, 173.947 mph.

28. (9)   Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 173.863 mph.

29. (78)  Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 173.756 mph.

30. (47)  Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 173.745 mph.

31. (49)  JJ Yeley, Toyota, 173.516 mph.

32. (83)  Landon Cassill, Toyota, 173.388 mph.

33. (36)  Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 173.383 mph.

34. (23)  Scott Riggs, Chevrolet, 173.249 mph.

35. (93)  Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 173.221 mph.

36. (1)   Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 173.182 mph.

37. (98)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 173.155 mph.

38. (26)  Josh Wise #, Ford, 172.756 mph.

39. (42)  Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 172.507 mph.

40. (13)  Casey Mears, Ford, 171.985 mph.

41. (87)  Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 171.625 mph.

42. (32)  Reed Sorenson(i), Ford, Owner Points

43. (19)  Mike Bliss(i), Toyota, 171.396 mph.

3 drivers failed to qualify.

44. (79)  Tim Andrews(i), Ford, 170.989 mph.

45. (33)  Jeff Green(i), Chevrolet, 169.769 mph.

46. (74)  Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 169.444 mph.