for your iPhone
for your iPad
NASCAR

NASCAR Links

Scanner Frequencies

Meet the Staff

2014 Schedule

Earnhardt Jr. wins Atlanta pole with 192 mph lap

by Pete McCole
Friday, March 05, 2010

Advertisement

Earnhardt's pole should help to sell tickets for Sunday's race
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com

Dale Earnhardt Jr. notched his first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole since 2008 with a record setting pace in Friday night’s qualifying session for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt posted a top speed of 192.761 mph in the no. 88 Amp Chevrolet, clocking the fastest qualifying speed ever for a Sprint Cup car in the Car of Tomorrow era, besting the previous record of 192.376 mph set at Charlotte Motor Speedway last October.

Earnhardt was the 17th driver to take to the track in the chilly early evening session, knocking Kyle Busch off the top spot to claim his ninth career pole.

Busch held onto the outside pole with a top speed of 192.280 mph in the no. 18 Toyota, followed by the Chevy of Juan Pablo Montoya with a speed of 192.196 mph.

Chevy pilots Mark Martin (191.814 mph) and Jeff Gordon (191.774 mph) rounded out the top five, giving Hendrick Motorsports three of the top five qualifying slots.

Friday’s top speed was Earnhardt’s first pole since Texas in April of 2008 – a 68 race drought – and his best start at Atlanta since taking the pole in November of 2001.

“The car drove good, it was there for us,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “Our car was pretty good in practice, we just needed to get a little bit better. And we just need to hit that perfect lap.

“There are a lot of cars out there that are fast and able to run good. You've just got to hit the marks and everything and the car was there. We knew that the time of day would be a little bit different.”

After finishing second in the season opening Daytona 500 and qualifying fourth for last weekend’s race at Las Vegas, Earnhardt’s team is hoping to find more success to build on and help erase the memories of a dismal 2009 season.

“Just getting a pole anywhere for our team is good,” said Earnhardt.  But we are just hungry, so hungry to do much better on Sunday. We qualified well at Vegas and we were pretty happy to be able to put ourselves in the middle of the company we were around up there in the top-10.

“To be able to do what we did tonight means a lot to us, but we are starving for a good finish and something like this to happen on Sunday for us. That is really all we can think about.”

Kyle Busch’s outside pole marks his best career Atlanta Motor Speedway start, hoping to match his victory in this same event in 2008.

“We got a good lap in,” said Busch. “I was real happy with the way it turned out when I was done qualifying and then a couple cars later we get beat but that’s just what happens sometimes.

“I felt really good about our lap. I got the most out of it that I felt I could get. Maybe there was a little more but really nothing that was a whole lot. Overall it was good.”

The previous fastest time for the new COT chassis came at last October at Charlotte Motor Speedway, another 1.5-mile quad-oval track very similar to Atlanta.

Since being reconfigured in 1997, Atlanta has emerged as one of the fastest track on the Sprint Cup circuit, making it no surprise the track now holds the record for the fastest qualifying speed for a COT

“It's really, really fast,” said Earnhardt. “You've just got to hang on. I think there are a lot of cars out there that can run that fast. You've just got to hang on to it.

“We had a great engine, and obviously this track is a place where power is really going to show up.”

“It's actually crazy how fast it is,” said Montoya, who also posted his career-best starting spot. “It's nice to see and it's always a lot of fun when it's that fast.”

Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, David Reutimann and Carl Edwards rounded out the top ten.

Aric Almirola, Casey Mears and Terry Cook failed to qualify for the event.

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 192.761 28.761 Leader
2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 192.280 28.833 -0.072
3 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 192.106 28.859 -0.098
4 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet HendrickCars.com / GoDaddy.com 191.814 28.903 -0.142
5 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet National Guard / DuPont 191.774 28.909 -0.148
6 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser 191.688 28.922 -0.161
7 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Tornados 191.549 28.943 -0.182
8 19 Elliott Sadler Ford Hunt Brothers Pizza 191.436 28.960 -0.199
9 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 191.186 28.998 -0.237
10 99 Carl Edwards Ford Scotts 191.087 29.013 -0.252
11 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 191.054 29.018 -0.257
12 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Lance Snacks / Tom's Snacks 190.935 29.036 -0.275
13 16 Greg Biffle Ford U.S. Census 190.850 29.049 -0.288
14 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Valvoline 190.791 29.058 -0.297
15 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 190.692 29.073 -0.312
16 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 190.640 29.081 -0.320
17 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 190.574 29.091 -0.330
18 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 190.561 29.093 -0.332
19 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 190.548 29.095 -0.334
20 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 190.424 29.114 -0.353
21 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 190.267 29.138 -0.377
22 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 190.221 29.145 -0.384
23 98 Paul Menard Ford CertainTeed / Menards 189.987 29.181 -0.420
24 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 189.915 29.192 -0.431
25 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Insignia / Best Buy 189.857 29.201 -0.440
26 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 189.798 29.210 -0.449
27 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 189.590 29.242 -0.481
28 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Mopar / FLO TV 189.571 29.245 -0.484
29 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 189.189 29.304 -0.543
30 36 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Wave Energy Drink 189.144 29.311 -0.550
31 13 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 189.112 29.316 -0.555
32 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 189.079 29.321 -0.560
33 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota FrontRowJoe.com 189.060 29.324 -0.563
34 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 189.021 29.330 -0.569
35 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 189.015 29.331 -0.570
36 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 188.970 29.338 -0.577
37 38 David Gilliland Ford Charter Air Transport / Taco Bell 188.341 29.436 -0.675
38 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 187.958 29.496 -0.735
39 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Warner Music Nashville / Blake Shelton 186.403 29.742 -0.981
40 34 Travis Kvapil+ Ford Long John Silver's 185.430 29.898 -1.137
41 37 Kevin Conway+* Ford Extenze 184.812 29.998 -1.237
42 26 Boris Said+ Ford Sacred Power / Southern Pride Trucking 182.916 30.309 -1.548
43 55 Michael McDowell Toyota Prism Motorsports 188.758 29.371 -0.610
Did Not Qualify
44 09 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Phoenix Racing 188.066 29.479 -0.718
45 190 Casey Mears Chevrolet Juice Air Fresheners / SmellMyCar.com 187.678 29.540 -0.779
46 46 Terry Cook* Dodge Whitney Motorsports 186.122 29.787 -1.026

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article