Earnhardt Grabs First Pole Of 2013

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed the pole for Saturday's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed the pole for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

SPARTA, Ky. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. blistered the track record Friday at Kentucky Speedway to score the pole for Saturday’s Quaker State 400.

Earnhardt’s 29.406-second lap at 183.636 mph easily bettered the track record at the 1.5-mile oval set last year by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Carl Edwards qualified his Roush Fenway Racing Ford second, registering a 29.459-second lap at 183.306 mph.

Johnson qualified third in his No. 48 Chevrolet, followed by Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose. Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Brian Vickers and Juan Pablo Montoya. The top eight drivers all qualified faster than the old track record.

“I felt like we had a good shot at putting a good lap down, but I didn’t think we had a good enough chance to beat Jimmie and some of those guys up there,” said Earnhardt. “We got some great cloud cover and it cooled the track temperature down.”

It was Earnhardt’s 12th career Sprint Cup pole and his first of the 2013 season.

All 43 cars that attempted to qualify will start Saturday’s event.