Isaac Brekken / AP
Friday, March 9, 2012 | 6:03 p.m.
LAS VEGAS — Kasey Kahne will start on the pole after setting a track record on a fast day of qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Kahne had a top speed of 190.456 mph on the 1.5-mile tri-oval on Friday to earn his 23rd career pole and first since joining Hendrick Motorsports.
Kyle Busch qualified second and will join Kahne on the front row for Sunday's 400-mile race after a warm afternoon in the desert where 15 drivers eclipsed Matt Kenseth's record of 188.884 mph set in in 2011.
Kevin Harvick will start third and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be next to him.
It was the fourth straight year the track record was broken at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Kahne has bounced around during his Sprint Cup car career, managing to win 12 races despite his lack of a permanent home.
He signed with Hendrick Motorsports in 2010, but had to wait until this season to join the team because Mark Martin was under contract through 2011.
Kahne started last season with Richard Petty Motorsports and ended it with Red Bull Racing, which pulled out of NASCAR. He snapped an 81-race winless streak at Phoenix in his penultimate race with the team and was looking forward to a good run with Hendrick after the long wait.
Kahne didn't get off to the start he wanted, crashing in his first two races. He finished 29th at the Daytona 500 and 34th last week at Phoenix, putting him 32nd in points.
Kahne has had intermittent success at Las Vegas - top-10 finishes every other year since 2004 - but No. 5 was fast off the hauler, posting one of the 10 best times in practice.
Busch, who grew up in Las Vegas, broke the track record near the midpoint of qualifying with a speed of 190.040 mph, which stood despite several other drivers bettering the record.
Kahne finally beat Busch's time late in the session, turning a lap of 28.353 seconds that'll give him a chance to start up front in Sunday's race and, he hopes, jumpstart his season.