There were no crashes or bad luck for Kasey Kahne at Pocono Raceway.
Kahne put aside the disappointment of a wreck at Dover that cost him his first career victory and rebounded yesterday to set a track record and claim the pole for the Pocono 500 in Long Pond, Pa.
Kahne, driving a Dodge for Evernham Motorsports, turned a lap of 172.553 mph for his fourth pole of the Nextel Cup season, adding to top qualifying efforts at Las Vegas, Darlington and California. He becomes the first rookie to win the pole at Pocono. Ward Burton in 1994 and Jimmie Johnson in 2002 started second in their rookie seasons.
"The car was perfect. I couldn't believe it," Kahne said. "We were a little bit off in practice, but the car was better, I drove a little better. It's a difficult track. It takes some time to learn."
Kahne proved to be a quick learner. He took test laps at the track last week under the watchful eye of Bill Elliott, whom he replaced on owner Ray Evernham's team after last year.
Kahne got wide on Turn 1 and crashed. Nothing major, but it taught him a few lessons about navigating the 21/2-mile triangular track.
His qualifying time broke Tony Stewart's record of 172.391 set in 2000, and he started to make up for a missed opportunity at Dover.
Kahne narrowly missed a 19-car pileup late in Sunday's race and was well on his way to the first victory of his Nextel Cup career at Dover International Speedway. Then, with oil all over the racetrack, he wrecked with 18 laps left. He went from nearly winning his first race to nothing.
* IRL: Buddy Rice got his first IndyCar Series win at the Indianapolis 500. But he's always been fast.
Rice finished second in his IRL debut two years ago. He has top-10 finishes in 12 of his 22 races, including all four this season for Rahal-Letterman Racing in the seat of injured driver Kenny Brack.
Rice joined team co-owner Bobby Rahal and Brack as champions at the famed Brickyard last month. He is third in season points at 129, behind Andretti Green teammates Dan Wheldon (158) and Tony Kanaan (157).
Now in the first race since Indianapolis, Rice qualified second for his third front-row start of the season.
Dario Franchitti is on the pole for tonight's Bombardier 500 in Fort Worth, his first front-row start in the IRL. The top five spots were Hondas, including his Andretti Green teammates Kanaan third and Bryan Herta fifth.