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Keselowski Earns Dover Pole

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 30 2014

Brad Keselowski was the fastest qualifier in Dover. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

Brad Keselowski earned his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole of 2014 on Friday when he battered the track qualifying record at Dover International Speedway.

Team Penske’s Keselowski bettered the previous track record set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year by over 2.5 mph.

Keselowski clocked 164.444 mph in his Team Penske Ford Fusion to edge the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch (163.785) and his Penske teammate Joey Logano (163.888).

Keselowski became a top-five qualifier for the 10th time in 13 races this season.

“Yeah,” Keselowski said, “it has been a good year for qualifying and I would say most years that has not been the case. 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.”

The first 24 cars in the 30-minute knockout round of qualifying each broke the old mark of 161.840 mph set last September 29.

Earnhardt posted Friday’s 13th-fastest lap, broke his old record by more than a second (162.933) and still missed the opportunity to qualify for the pole in the second and final round.

“The cars are built a lot differently than they were last year,” said Keselowski, who has one victory under his belt this season (Las Vegas) and a win and four top-10 finishes in eight previous starts at Dover.

“Ford has done a great job catching up (thanks in large part) to the front nose piece. They kind of got left behind on that one. Then, when the Gen-6 car came out, we were allowed to catch up for 2014.”

Keselowski, currently ninth in the Cup point standings, says the biggest reason all manufacturers are running faster in qualifying is added downforce.

“The bigger rear spoiler and the ride height rule (have made the most difference),” he said. “The bigger spoiler adds a significant amount. There’s also a different front belly pan. The cars make more grip by a long shot than what they ever have … 2,600-2,800 pounds of downforce last year to about 3,200 now. That’s a significant increase.”

Busch actually ran the fastest lap of the day, clocking 166.297 mph in practice, when 29 cars exceeded the track record before the track warmed in the afternoon sun.

“Our car was really good in practice,” Busch said. “We weren’t quite able to get the speed we wanted in qualifying. I don’t think anybody really did. Overall, we slowed down a little more than others, I guess. I’m really happy with our M&M Camry in race trim, so I think we’ll be good for the race Sunday.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying

Dover International Speedway

Dover, Delaware

Friday, May 30, 2014

1. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 164.444 mph.

2. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 163.785 mph.

3. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 163.688 mph.

4. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 163.362 mph.

5. (42) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 163.080 mph.

6. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 163.066 mph.

7. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 163.066 mph.

8. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 162.499 mph.

9. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 162.411 mph.

10. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 162.243 mph.

11. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 162.155 mph.

12. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 160.995 mph.

13. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 162.933 mph.

14. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 162.903 mph.

15. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 162.889 mph.

16. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 162.844 mph.

17. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 162.690 mph.

18. (66) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, 162.602 mph.

19. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 162.580 mph.

20. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 162.550 mph.

21. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 162.536 mph.

22. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 162.250 mph.

23. (3) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 162.155 mph.

24. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 162.009 mph.

25. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 161.754 mph.

26. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 161.747 mph.

27. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 161.725 mph.

28. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 161.623 mph.

29. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 161.573 mph.

30. (51) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, 160.887 mph.

31. (26) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 160.592 mph.

32. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 160.435 mph.

33. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 160.206 mph.

34. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 159.419 mph.

35. (23) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 159.391 mph.

36. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 159.200 mph.

37. (44) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Owner Points

38. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Owner Points

39. (7) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, Owner Points

40. (33) David Stremme, Chevrolet, Owner Points

41. (83) Ryan Truex #, Toyota, Owner Points

42. (77) Dave Blaney, Ford, Owner Points

43. (32) Blake Koch(i), Ford, Owner Points

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 30 2014
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