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Five Races Left In NASCAR Championship Chase

Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR

Every single one of the drivers who qualified at the Kansas Speedway on Friday broke the track record. That’s because the track is newly repaved and record speeds are being set. The fastest of the fast was Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne.

Kahne put his Farmers Insurance No. 5 Chevrolet on the pole for Sunday’s race with an average speed of 191.360 mph.  Drivers are hitting 205 mph on the straightaways due to the new track surface.  Qualifying second was Mark Martin at 191.238 mph.

We are halfway through the 10 race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.  Kahne is fifth in the points standings with five races left to go and is looking to use his good starting position to boost his chances for maintaining good track position on the repaved track and ultimately coming up with a good finish.  Points leader Brad Keselowski will start 25th after a poor qualifying run.  The only Chase driver to qualify worse is Tony Stewart who will start 33rd.

Jimmie Johnson is second in points and will start 7th.  Denny Hamlin sits third in the standings and qualified 9th after a hard crash in practice on Thursday.  Hamlin said he felt slightly dizzy after the crash in Turn 1 which is the same corner that Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit when he crashed during a tire test on August 29 in which he sustained the first of two concussions that led to his missing a couple of NASCAR races in a row.  Hamlin now says he feels 100 percent and is ready to go for Sunday’s race.

The other driver in the top five, Clint Bowyer is a home town favorite.  Bowyer hails from Emporia, Kansas so obviously considers Kansas Speedway his home track.  Bowyer is coming off a win at Charlotte last week that put him solidly back in Championship contention just 28 points back.  Bowyer qualified third for Sunday’s race.

Here is the complete starting lineup.

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