Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start in pole position for today’s AAA 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s fastest one-mile tracks the famed NASCAR racer set a track-record speed of 161.849 mph.
Earnhardt Jr. was helped along by ideal conditions that led to a cool day and extra speeds. Five other drivers also broke the previous 161.522 mph record set by former driver Jeremy Mayfield in June 2004.
The pole win is the second for Dale Earnhard Jr. and marks only the second time since 2002 that he has won two pole positions in a single season.
After setting a new course record he proclaimed: “The grip in the car was really over the top. I was expecting to put a good lap down. I thought we were competitive enough to get in the top 10 pretty easily. I made a couple of small errors driving the car, but you never drive every lap perfectly.”
This is the 17th time in 29 attempts that Earnhardt Jr. has taken his Gen-6 car to a track record in qualifying.
With his pole position secured Earnhardt will need to make the most out of his vehicle if he wants to move up from 11th place in the Chase after two races.
Speaking about today’s race Earnhardt Jr. proclaimed: “We’re not really going to count points, and I’m not going to sit here and figure out how far I’m behind and come up with some equation that I need to perfect to gain points each week. We’re just going to show up and try to run hard and be smart. If we can unload great cars like this, it makes (it) all that much easier.
Earnhardt admits that he will be “really disappointed” if he doesn’t win a race this season.
Also qualifying in the top four are Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards.
Jimmie Johnson (eighth) and Kurt Busch (ninth) also finished in the top 10 for Sunday’s AAA 400 Sprint Cup race.
Do you think Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be able to capitalize on his pole position?
The AAA 400 Sprint Cup race kicks off today at 2pm Eastern time on ESPN. The race will also be live-streamed by ESPN3.