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Earnhardt Jr. wins Kentucky pole, sets track record

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start from the pole after setting the fastest time during Friday’s qualifying session for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

“All of the guys did a real good job of putting a good car out there,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

“We got off turn two well and through [turns] three and four especially well.”

Turning a lap at 183.636 mph around the 1.5-mile track, Earnhardt Jr.broke the previous track record set by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, and  grabbed his first pole position of the 2013 season and his first since  at Richmond International Raceway in September,2012.

The pole was marked the twelfth of his Sprint Cup career and his first at Kentucky Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. took the top-spot away from Johnson early in the session, and held off second-place starter, Carl Edwards, as the session came to a close.

“I felt like we had a good enough chance to put a good lap down but I didn’t think we had a good enough chance to beat Jimmie and some of them guys up there,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

“We got some great cloud cover and it cooled the track temperature down.”

Edwards, Johnson, Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, and Brian Vickers all broke Johnson’s previous track record of 181.818 mph which was set last season.

Keselowski, who won last year’s race at Kentuck Speedway, starts in eighth.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the fastest rookie qualifier in 13th position.

43 cars attempted to make the 43-car field. No cars failed to qualify.

Quaker State 400 Starting Lineup 

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Marcos Ambrose
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Brian Vickers
  10. Juan Pablo Montoya
  11. Joey Logano
  12. Jeff Gordon
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  14. Jeff Burton
  15. Clint Bowyer
  16. Matt Kenseth
  17. AJ Allmendinger
  18. Aric Almirola
  19. Martin Truex Jr.
  20. Greg Biffle
  21. Kasey Kahne
  22. Kevin Harvick
  23. Jamie McMurray
  24. Paul Menard
  25. Tony Stewart
  26. Austin Dillon
  27. Kurt Busch
  28. David Stremme
  29. Danica Patrick
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Casey Mears
  32. Dave Blaney
  33. Michael McDowell
  34. David Gilliland
  35. JJ Yeley
  36. David Reutimann
  37. Josh Wise
  38. David Ragan
  39. Mike Bliss
  40. Travis Kvapil
  41. Joe Nemechek
  42. Scott Riggs
  43. Ken Schrader

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