Driving a Dodge Intrepid for owner Ray Evernham, Kahne clocked 186.940 miles per hour around the two-mile California Speedway.
High winds prevented him from breaking Ryan Newman's 2002 track record of 187.432 mph.
Although Kahne's pole-winning percentage is the best of any driver this season, it has not translated to any checkered flags. He has finished second three times and third once.
Joe Nemechek, who won the pole for the inaugural race here in 1997, was second at 186.737 mph in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It is Nemechek's fourth top-10 start in eight races at California Speedway.
Jeff Green put his Dodge Intrepid third at 183.316 mph. It is his second top-10 start of the season and the best for Petty Enterprises since John Andretti started on the outside of the front row at Phoenix in 2002.