KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Five days ago, Kasey Kahne had written off his chances in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But even before his pole-winning performance Friday at Kansas Speedway, his confidence was back.

“On Sunday, I had just hit another car,” said Kahne, who dropped to ninth in the Chase standings – 182 points off the lead – when he got caught in Tony Stewart’s spinout and finished 38th at Dover International Speedway. “I was devastated. Today, I’ve been able to think about it for a week. Things change.”

The Dodge star took the pole for the Banquet 400 on Sunday with a quick lap of 178.377 mph on the 1.5 mile tri-oval. Scott Riggs will start on the outside front, also in a Dodge, after turning in a quick lap of 177.936 mph.

It was the 11th career pole and fifth of the year for Kahne, who has won three times from the pole this season. All five poles this year – and all five of his wins – have come in the car he drove Friday.

Jimmie Johnson, who qualified third, can relate to Kahne’s renewed optimism. In 2004, Johnson fell well off the pace early in the first Chase but made a late charge before falling just short of champion Kurt Busch.

Johnson, eighth in the standings, would also like to make a stretch run.

“I don’t like the position I’m in, and I don’t want to be in the position I’m in,” he said. “I’ve been there the last few years, with a slow start in the Chase, but it’s not over.”

Brian Vickers qualified fourth, followed by J.J. Yeley, Clint Bowyer, Busch, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler and Chase leader Jeff Burton. Jeff Gordon, who trails Burton by six points for the lead, qualified 11th.


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