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Kahne takes poles for Busch, Nextel Cup races

THE BALTIMORE SUN

RICHMOND, Va. - Kasey Kahne hasn't always had good results at Richmond International Raceway, but he made up for a lot of that yesterday.

Kahne, who at 25 and in his second full season on the NASCAR Nextel Cup tour, went out to qualify twice on the three-quarters-of-a-mile track and came back with two No. 1 starting positions.

First, he won the pole for last night's Funai 250 Busch race with a run of 128.977 in his No. 79 Dodge. Then, he returned to the track in his No. 9 Nextel Cup Dodge and ran 129.964 to capture the pole for tonight's Chevy American Revolution 400.

The Nextel Cup pole was the second consecutive pole for Kahne, who also won it at Darlington, S.C., last weekend. The two-pole, single-day effort was also the first since October 1999 at Rockingham, N.C., and the first such feat ever at Richmond.

"It's awesome to win two straight Cup poles and two poles today at Richmond," Kahne said before jumping into his Busch car for last night's race, which was won by Carl Edwards in his Ford, while Kahne finished fourth. "I was worried about Ryan Newman [during qualifying for the Cup pole]. I knew he was in a backup car, but I knew he was going to be fast."

Newman was among the fastest during practice yesterday afternoon in his primary car, but late in the practice session, he got up in the "marbles" (dirt that builds on the upper and lower areas of the racetrack) and hit the fence. The blow to the No. 12 Dodge was hard enough to knock the motor and rear end out of position and cause enough suspension damage in the front to force him to go to his backup car.

The secondary car was still fast enough to earn the outside pole at 129.801 mph. The effort knocked Tony Stewart's No. 20 Chevrolet (129.546) into the second row beside 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch and his No. 97 Ford (129.453).

Busch spent part of his afternoon answering questions about his behavior last weekend that drew an invitation to the NASCAR command trailer and a reprimand.

The discipline followed Busch's use of colorful language to voice his disagreement with NASCAR over his team radio during the race and the evident throwing of a water bottle at an official after the race, in which he finished 37th, 64 laps down, in the Darlington 500.

"Saturday was a very frustrating night," Busch said. "To wreck on Lap 1 and then have the crew work on the car and go back out and realize our potential ... to run those lap times while 60 laps down. And then to have a misunderstanding when a yellow came out to get behind the pace car was so frustrating at the time.

"They [NASCAR] reacted. I overreacted with, 'Why am I going two laps down?' I was getting behind the pace car, but I didn't do it in a timely fashion. So it's tough. You're 60 laps down. It's a frustrating day ... but, yet, I'm not there to bend any of the rules. I'm there to abide by them ... and I apologized for the water bottle."

Despite receiving no penalty, Busch said he didn't get off easy.

"You don't want to go in the hauler," he said. "It's a scenario where you listen quite often and you speak in very short words. You get your point across quickly because the mother hand is on top and by no means did we escape anything. It's tough when you go into the hauler "

At the beginning of last season, Busch was saddled with the reputation of being a hothead. He worked hard to dispel the image while winning the Cup title.

Yesterday, he acknowledged that his frustration caused him to slip a little bit, "but being able to move on and to admit to it is the next phase and then you go to the next week with a fresh attitude to win the race."

Certainly that's the attitude Kahne brings to Richmond tonight. The second-year driver has finished second six times in his short career and was third last week at Darlington.

"It's going to be a long night," Kahne said of tonight's 400-lap race. "But ... it should be a good race for us."

Today's lineup

NASCAR Nextel Cup

Chevy American Revolution 400

At Richmond, Va. (Car number in parentheses)

1. (9) Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 129.964 mph.

2. (12) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 129.801.

3. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 129.546.

4. (97) Kurt Busch, Ford, 129.453.

5. (38) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 129.063.

6. (21) Ricky Rudd, Ford, 128.989.

7. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 128.928.

8. (2) Rusty Wallace, Dodge, 128.891.

9. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 128.866.

10. (5) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 128.848.

11. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 128.792.

12. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 128.786.

13. (09) Johnny Sauter, Dodge, 128.762.

14. (6) Mark Martin, Ford, 128.719.

15. (19) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 128.602.

16. (41) Casey Mears, Dodge, 128.455.

17. (42) Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 128.449.

18. (43) Jeff Green, Dodge, 128.315.

19. (07) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 128.272.

20. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 128.248.

21. (77) Travis Kvapil, Dodge, 128.090.

22. (40) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 128.071.

23. (15) Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 128.053.

24. (0) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 128.053.

25. (01) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 128.023.

26. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 127.980.

27. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 127.956.

28. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 127.944.

29. (25) Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, 127.684.

30. (4) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 127.684.

31. (92) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 127.551.

32. (32) Bobby Hamilton Jr., Chevrolet, 127.389.

33. (7) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, 127.250.

34. (22) Scott Wimmer, Dodge, 127.214.

35. (88) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 127.167.

36. (10) Scott Riggs, Chevrolet, 127.137.

37. (75) Mike Garvey, Dodge, 126.987.

38. (11) Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 126.796.

39. (18) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 126.790.

40. (49) Ken Schrader, Dodge, 126.594.

41. (45) Kyle Petty, Dodge, 126.446.

42. (89) Morgan Shepherd, Dodge, 126.274.

43. (66) Hermie Sadler, Ford, 126.003.

Failed to qualify

44. (37) Kevin Lepage, Dodge, owner points.

45. (34) Jeff Fuller, Chevrolet, owner points.

46. (27) Kirk Shelmerdine, Ford, owner points.

47. (00) Carl Long, Chevrolet, owner points.

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