Friday, September 27, 2013

Earnhardt Jr. on Dover pole, Kenseth fastest during first practice session

Dale Earnhardt Jr. sets track record during qualifying at 161.849 mph 
DOVER, Del.—Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t the biggest fan of Dover International Speedway just because he is kind of an asphalt guy.

He likes the feel of racing on asphalt. He believes previous race data from tracks with asphalt is more reliable than with concrete.

But he loved the 1-mile concrete track Friday afternoon.

Earnhardt posted a track-record qualifying speed of 161.849 mph Friday to earn the pole for the AAA 400 on Sunday.

“The car has been excellent all day long,” Earnhardt said. “The car has been a whole lot of fun to drive.

“If we just follow our instinct and keep up with the racetrack as it’s changing throughout the weekend, we’ve got a good shot at it.”

The Hendrick Motorsports driver will be joined on the front row by Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth (161.805 mph).

Earnhardt feels good about the race, the third of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. After an engine failure to open the Chase, Earnhardt is 11th in the standings, 62 points behind Kenseth.“The last two weeks, we’ve unloaded some really competitive cars right off the trailer,” Earnhardt said. “It’s been a blast. … We’re doing a real good job in preparation leading up to the race.”

“This track, being concrete, you just don’t have tons of reliable (information) —we’ve got a lot data, we’ve got information but you’ve got to make a lot of gut decisions and you don’t have a lot of reliable gut decisions to go off of,” Earnhardt said.

“But when the car is good, you can make a few mistakes on the way you set the car up. You can miss a few marks and still be pretty good.”

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