DOVER, Del. – Brad Keselowski is getting used to racing out front, turning a track-record lap of 164.444 mph to win the pole at Dover International Speedway.
Keselowski won his second pole of the season Friday on the mile track and fifth of his career. He also has six starts from second this season, making him one of the top front-row performers in NASCAR.
“It’s been a good year for qualifying,” Keselowski said, “And I would say most years, that has not been the case.”
Keselowski and his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano have figured out fast qualifying in their Fords. Kyle Busch starts second, and Logano, eight-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson and rookie Kyle Larson round out the top five for Sunday’s race.
Series points leader Jeff Gordon was sixth, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer. Bowyer turned 35 Friday.
With only 43 cars entered, every driver qualified for the 400-mile race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was knocked out in the first round by less than a second by AJ Allmendinger as the session wound down. Other stars who failed to advance out of the first round included Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, and Tony Stewart. Danica Patrick also did not advance and starts 28th.
“We’ve got all kinds of time on Sunday,” Patrick said.
Keselowski has a win and five top 10s this season. His previous pole at Phoenix netted him a third-place finish.
He credited Ford for helping the No. 2 find the speed it needed to boost its qualifying efforts.
“I don’t think we were far off before, we just needed those little pieces that were outside of our control to be evened up,” he said. “I feel like that is the case now and we are where we should be.”
It was the eighth time this season a track record was set.