MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Kasey Kahne is the first two-time pole winner of the season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series after he posted the fastest lap in qualifying Saturday at Martinsville.
He'll start the race 27th in points, and hopes it's the start of a turnaround in fortune.
"We have had great Friday and Saturdays and just haven't put together a Sunday yet," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "Hopefully [today] will be a nice start to a good season."
Kahne, who also started first at Las Vegas, toured the 0.526-mile oval at 97.126 mph, depriving Kevin Harvick of a sweep of weekend qualifying at the track. Harvick, who won the pole for Saturday's truck series race earlier, had a run at 97.048.
The pole is the 24th of Kahne's career, and first in 17 starts on the oldest, shortest track in the premier series. He said patience will be key at the start in today's 500-lap event (12:30 p.m., Ch. 29).
"When you come to Martinsville, until about lap 250 you really don't know what you have," he said. "You can lead the race early, you can slide around and be slow early and after about lap 250, 300, that is when you finally realize how good your car is or how bad it is."
The top five also includes Denny Hamlin, who has four career victories on the tight, tricky layout, followed by Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman, followed by Brian Vickers, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, a seven-time winner here, and Joey Logano.
Around the tracks
*Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick led all but two laps and won the spring NASCAR Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway for the third time in the last four years Saturday.
*The former truck team owner yielded the top spot to teammate Ty Dillon for the fourth and fifth laps, but left no doubt which truck was best in leading a series-record 248 laps.
*Helio Castroneves continued a strong start by capturing the pole at the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Castroneves turned in a fast lap of 1:10.4768 in Saturday's qualifying after opening with a win at St. Petersburg.