DOVER, Del. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attempt to get back into the battle for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship after earning the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover Int’l Speedway on Friday afternoon.
Earnhardt’s track-record time of 22.243 seconds at 161.849 mph was enough to give him his second pole of the season and 13th of his career. He’ll try to take advantage of it on Sunday as he looks for his first Sprint Cup victory this year.
“We don’t normally win that many poles in the year, so this has been a lot of fun so far,” said Earnhardt, who is currently 11th in the championship standings. “The car was quick off the trailer. It has been a real joy to drive all day long. It is a tribute to Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and the guys. When they unload the car so well it makes the whole day a whole lot easier.”
Matt Kenseth, the championship leader and winner of the first two Chase races, qualified second. He is attempting to become the first driver in Chase history to win the first three races of the Chase.
Championship contenders Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards qualified third and fourth, followed by Aric Almirola in fifth. Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray were sixth and seventh, followed by Chase racers Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch. Martin Truex Jr. completed the top 10.
Joey Logano led the remaining Chase contenders by qualifying 11th. He was followed by Kevin Harvick in 12th, Kyle Busch in 14th, Jeff Gordon in 16th, Greg Biffle in 19th, Kasey Kahne in 20th and Clint Bowyer in 23rd.
Only 43 cars attempted to qualify for Sunday’s race, meaning everyone will start the race.