Kentucky Track Record for Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. captured his 12th career pole. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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Starting Lineup

SPARTA, Ky. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. set a new Kentucky Speedway track qualifying record of 183.636 mph to win the pole for Saturday's Quaker State 400.

Earnhardt won his first Sprint Cup Series pole since last September at Richmond and will lead the field to the green in Saturday night’s third race held at Kentucky.

It was Earnhardt’s 12th career pole and the second straight for Hendrick Motorsports at Kentucky after Jimmie Johnson’s run last year.

On a hot sunny day, Earnhardt tipped his cap to the weather helping his cause.

“We got some great cloud cover," said Earnhardt, whose previous best start at Kentucky was seventh last year. "We thought we had a top five car in practice, got some good cloud cover … that brought the track temp down and gave us an advantage."

Earnhardt enjoys racing on the worn out Kentucky surface despite the bumps and swells that present a challenge.

“We like the bumps; at least in the corners anyways,” he said. “It was a great lap. This National Guard Chevrolet had good grip and good speed and we had a cool race track.”

Carl Edwards will start outside the front row after his lap of 183.306 mph.

“That was pretty close,” said Edwards after his attempt. “I think if I could do it over again I would have a pretty good shot at it. I am telling you that as poorly as we have run here that is a really good lap and I am happy with it. I will get over my frustration here in about 10-15 minutes.”

Johnson, Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five.

“That was a good lap,” said Johnson, who did have some challenges during his run. “I’m looking under the car because as I crossed the start/finish line I dipped below the racing surface onto the apron. There is a huge hole down there and it had me airborne. I’m making sure that my car is alright.”

Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, defending race winner Brad Keselowski, Brian Vickers and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the first ten qualifiers.

In all, nine drivers eclipsed Johnson’s old track record of 181.818 mph.

All 43 drivers who took time will start Saturday night’s race.

Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 is slated for a 7:30 p.m. ET green flag.

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