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NASCAR: Kasey Kahne fastest when it matters most in Michigan qualifying

Kasey Kahne stands on the grid after Friday’s qualifying on the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
Kasey Kahne stands on the grid after Friday’s qualifying on the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Getty Images

This pole has been a long time coming.

Literally.

Kevin Harvick was fastest in the first two rounds of group qualifying on Friday but Kasey Kahne was fastest when it meant the most, topping the final round of 12 drivers to win the pole for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The pole is Kahne’s first since October 2012 at Kansas Speedway, a somewhat remarkable statistic for a driver who typically is among the fastest each season.

The pole is also the 27th of Kahne’s Sprint Cup Series career.

“Our Chevrolet has had speed all three runs, so I knew we’d have a shot today, so that was cool,” Kahne said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a pole.

“There will be some passing for sure, but it’s not going to be easy. So, track position will play a big role in being there at the end of the race.”

Harvick ended up second-fastest, Brad Keselowski was third, Carl Edwards was fourth and Ryan Blaney was fifth driving the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing in a partial schedule this season.

Ganassi, Ford to compete in Le Mans

Ford announced on Friday it is returning to one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with its new Ford GT race car.

The new Ford GT race car will run the full 2016 schedules of the FIA World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, making its competition debut in January 2016 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The two Ford teams will be operated by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and both series teams intend to compete with a four-car effort at Le Mans. Drivers will be announced later.

The Ganassi organization also currently fields in entries in NASCAR as well as the IndyCar series.

Hall of Fame debuts new exhibits

The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte will debut a new exhibit on Wednesday and a revamped “Heritage Speedway.”

“From the Garage: Street Rides of NASCAR Stars” explores what some of the sport’s well-known names have tucked behind their garage doors and what drew them to each of these one-of-a-kind vehicles.

The Heritage Speedway will see the addition of more than 200 artifacts that illustrate iconic moments of seven eras of motorsports.

For more information on the Hall, call (877) 231-2010.

Richmond test next week

At least eight Cup drivers are expected to take part in a one-day test on Wednesday at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The test will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to the public.

Among the drivers already scheduled to attend are Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and David Ragan.

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Twitter: @jim_utter

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