for your iPhone
for your iPad
NASCAR

NASCAR Links

Scanner Frequencies

Meet the Staff

2014 Schedule

Earnhardt wins pole at Dover for AAA 400

2nd of year
Friday, September 27, 2013

Advertisement

NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt. Jr
Getty Images for NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. watched and waited, but after several close calls late in Friday's qualifying session at Dover International Speedway, the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet had the pole for Sunday's AAA 400, the third race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

And if second-place qualifier, series leader and Earnhardt's "worry-wart" friend Matt Kenseth was disappointed at falling just short of Earnhardt's track-record speed, so were those looking for a weakness in Kenseth's performance.

Earnhardt toured the Monster Mile in 22.243 seconds (161.849 mph) erasing Jeremy Mayfield's 2004 mark of 161.522 mph. Kenseth was .006 seconds slower at 161.805 mph. Fellow Chase drivers Ryan Newman (161.740 mph) and Carl Edwards (161.609 mph) qualified third and fourth, respectively, with Aric Almirola, who matched Edwards at 161.609 mph, claiming the fifth starting spot.

Earnhardt climbs into his Chevy
Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet
The Coors Light pole award was Earnhardt's first at Dover, his second of the season and the 13th of his career. It's the first time since 2002 that the sport's most popular driver has won more than one pole in a season. For the 17th time this season, a track qualifying record fell.

Yet Earnhardt felt he hadn't quite gotten the most out of his lap and waited anxiously as the 17 drivers who followed him in the qualifying order tried to knock him off the provisional pole.

"I was expecting to put a good lap down," Earnhardt said. "I thought we'd be competitive enough to get inside the top 10 pretty easily… I made a couple of small errors out in the car, but you never drive every lap perfectly. You always kind of wish you could have done things a little differently. I think the car had maybe another half a tenth (of a second) or a tenth in it….

"I watched the lap tracker on a couple of guys. The 99 (Edwards), they were a tenth-and-a-half better than us by the time they got into Turn 3 or the middle of 3 and 4. So, yeah, I thought there was a good amount of time left out there for a lot of guys, myself included."

When Kenseth heard he had fallen .006 off the pole-winning lap, he radioed, "My bad," to his team, but changing conditions had more to do with Kenseth's second-place effort.

"I feel bad we missed the pole by just that little bit," Kenseth said. "(Crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) and I both had a feeling it was going to go like that when we saw the sun pop out before we left (on the qualifying run). It just got too free and lost too much time…

"I felt like from the seat I got everything it had in it… Gosh, we just missed it by a little bit -- just too loose, just couldn't stay in the gas."

Nevertheless, the driver who has won the first two Chase races will start beside Earnhardt on the front row. Though Kenseth has enjoyed unqualified success in his first season at Joe Gibbs Racing, Earnhardt describes his long-time friend as a glass-half-empty kind of guy.

"Matt never would expect things to go this well," Earnhardt said. "I'm always having to pump him up, tell him how good things are going to be. He's always a worry-wart. I guess that's the best way to describe him…

"He's having a great year, but hopefully we can beat him. We want to get up there and regain our ground and get back into this thing if we can."

Earnhardt enters Sunday's race 11th in the standings, 62 points behind Kenseth.

Behind Earnhardt, Kenseth, Newman and Edwards, other Chase drivers qualified as follows: Jimmie Johnson, eighth; Kurt Busch, ninth; Joey Logano, 11th; Kevin Harvick, 12th; Kyle Busch, 14th; Jeff Gordon, 16th; Greg Biffle, 19th; Kasey Kahne, 20th; and Clint Bowyer, 23rd.

Lineup

Pos Driver # Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet National Guard 161.849 22.243 Leader
2 Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota No. 20 Home Depot "Let's Do This" Toyota 161.805 22.249 --0.006
3 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet State Water Heaters 161.740 22.258 --0.015
4 Carl Edwards 99 Ford Fastenal 161.609 22.276 --0.033
5 Aric Almirola 43 Ford Smithfield 161.609 22.276 --0.033
6 Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 161.594 22.278 --0.035
7 Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet LiftMaster 161.493 22.292 --0.049
8 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe's / Kolbalt Tools 161.341 22.313 --0.070
9 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet 161.326 22.315 --0.072
10 Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Shocks 161.204 22.332 --0.089
11 Joey Logano 22 Ford Shell Pennzoil 161.023 22.357 --0.114
12 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Budweiser 160.800 22.388 --0.145
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 160.736 22.397 --0.154
14 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota Interstate Batteries 160.721 22.399 --0.156
15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford FORD ECO BOOST 160.714 22.400 --0.157
16 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Axalta 160.664 22.407 --0.164
17 AJ Allmendinger 47 Toyota House-Autry 160.650 22.409 --0.166
18 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Freight 160.557 22.422 --0.179
19 Greg Biffle 16 Ford Filtrete 160.542 22.424 --0.181
20 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 160.371 22.448 --0.205
21 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Menards / CertainTeed 160.249 22.465 --0.222
22 Brian Vickers 55 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 160.100 22.486 --0.243
23 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota Raspberry 5-Hour Energy benefiting Living Beyond Breast Cancer 159.851 22.521 --0.278
24 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford Stanley 159.645 22.550 --0.307
25 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Caterpillar 158.779 22.673 --0.430
26 Casey Mears 13 Ford No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion 158.611 22.697 --0.454
27 David Ragan 34 Ford Taco Bell 158.451 22.720 --0.477
28 David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver's 158.263 22.747 --0.504
29 Mark Martin 14 Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops 157.992 22.786 --0.543
30 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Burger King-Dr. Pepper 157.929 22.795 --0.552
31 Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy 157.563 22.848 --0.605
32 J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet Drive Sober Arrive Alive 157.549 22.850 --0.607
33 Cole Whitt 30 Toyota Swan Energy 157.336 22.881 --0.638
34 Michael McDowell 98 Ford Phil Parsons Racing 156.883 22.947 --0.704
35 Reed Sorenson 95 Ford Leavine Family Racing 156.692 22.975 --0.732
36 Ryan Truex 51 Chevrolet Shooters Sporting Center 156.644 22.982 --0.739
37 Landon Cassill 33 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos.com 156.495 23.004 --0.761
38 Josh Wise 35 Ford MDS Transport 156.203 23.047 --0.804
39 David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King-Dr. Pepper 155.595 23.137 --0.894
40 Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet TBA 155.501 23.151 --0.908
41 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota TBA 154.832 23.251 --1.008
42 Timmy Hill 32 Ford U.S. Chrome 154.526 23.297 --1.054
43 Tony Raines 40 Chevrolet TBA 153.551 23.445 --1.202

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article