Keselowski wins Dover pole with new track record

 

The Sports Network

Dover, DE (SportsNetwork.com) - Brad Keselowski will start on the pole for the FedEx 400 after setting a new track qualifying record at Dover International Speedway on Friday.

Keselowski made a lap around this 1-mile, concrete-surfaced track at 164.444 mph during the second and final round of qualifying to earn the top starting position for Sunday's 400-mile Sprint Cup Series race here. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford and 2012 series champion claimed his second pole and eighth front row start of the season. His other pole this year came at Phoenix, which marked the first time NASCAR used its new knockout-style qualifying format for its top racing circuit.

"It has been a good year for qualifying, and I would say most years that has not been the case," Keselowski said after capturing his fifth career pole in Sprint Cup. "I am not going to complain by any stretch of the imagination. I am very happy with our effort today with qualifying on the pole and as important as qualifying is here at Dover with pit road selection. I am looking forward to Sunday's race and am very pleased with our starting position."

Kyle Busch prevented an all Penske front starting row by posting a lap at 163.785 mph. Logano's lap at 163.688 mph was just 0.013 seconds behind Busch.

Team Penske has had one or both of its drivers qualify on the front row in 10 of the first 12 knockout qualifying sessions in Sprint Cup this season.

Earlier in the day, Busch had the fastest lap in practice (166.297 mph). The Joe Gibbs Racing driver also had the quickest lap in the first qualifying round (164.399 mph).

"The 2 [Keselowski] and 22 [Logano] always seem to go faster on their second runs, and we just got beat by speed there," Busch said.

Jimmie Johnson, who scored his first win of the season this past weekend at Charlotte, qualified fourth. Last September, Johnson won at Dover for a record eighth time.

"I think we could have been a little bit better," Johnson said. "I'm not sure where it would have put us, but a strong day. We unloaded fast, and we made it through each round. We had a lot of speed in the car."

Rookie Kyle Larson took the fifth spot, followed by Jeff Gordon, the current points leader, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.

Ninth through 12th were: Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger and Greg Biffle. Allmendinger beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. by only 0.002 seconds for the 12th and final spot in Q2. Earnhardt will start 13th.

Other notable drivers and their starting positions include: Ryan Newman (14th), Martin Truex Jr. (16th), Kasey Kahne (17th), Jamie McMurray (19th), Tony Stewart (20th), Matt Kenseth (21st), Kurt Busch (24th), Danica Patrick (28th) and Carl Edwards (29th). Stewart is the defending race winner.

The top-29 drivers in qualifying surpassed the previous track record of 161.849 mph, set by Earnhardt in September 2013.

All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field.

Read more Sprint Cup stories from the Miami Herald

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