SPARTA, KENTUCKY- Nothing is going to sell more tickets for tomorrow night’s Quaker State 400 at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway than what just happened.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to start on the pole for Saturday night’s race as he blistered the old track record with a new record lap of 183.636 mph in the No. 88 National Guard/Youth Foundation Chevrolet.
That should make Junior Nation very happy entering tomorrow nights race as Earnhardt now has the best opportunity than anyone to end up the victory after 400 miles of racing.
Joining Earnhardt on the front row is Roush/Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards. The driver of the No. 99 UPS Ford had a solid run here last year and nearly beat Earnhardt’s record lap with a speed of 183.306 mph. It’s Edwards’ best start at Kentucky as he’s been fast since they’ve unloaded this morning.
Earnhardt’s Hendrick Racing teammate Jimmie Johnson who was quickest in final practice will start third. The five-time Sprint Cup champion broke his old track record set last year early in the session with a speed of 183.144 mph and gave Hendrick two cars in the top three spots.
Lining up next to Johnson is the inaugural Quaker State 400 pole and race winner Kyle Busch. The youngest of the Busch brothers set a lap of 182.593 mph in the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota.
Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five in today’s qualifying session with a lap of 182.587 mph.
Tomorrow night’s race will be the third at Kentucky Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series as once again track position should be key. Drivers have said all day passing will be hard with the track’s banking and surface and track position is going to be huge.
Quaker State 400 Starting Line-Up:
Row 1: 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 99 Carl Edwards
Row 2: 48 Jimmie Johnson 18 Kyle Busch
Row 3: 9 Marco Amborse 11 Denny Hamlin
Row 4: 39 Ryan Newman 2 Brad Keselowski
Row 5: 55 Brian Vickers 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
Row 6: 22 Joey Logano 24 Jeff Gordon
Row 7: 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 31 Jeff Burton
Row 8: 15 Clint Bowyer 20 Matt Kenseth
Row 9: 47 A.J. Allmendinger 43 Aric Almirola
Row 10: 56 Martin Truex Jr. 16 Greg Biffle
Row 11: 5 Kasey Kahne 29 Kevin Harvick
Row 12: 1 Jamie McMurray 27 Paul Menard
Row 13: 14 Tony Stewart 51 Austin Dillon
Row 14: 78 Kurt Busch 30 David Stremme
Row 15: 10 Danica Patrick 33 Landon Cassill
Row 16: 13 Casey Mears 7 Dave Blaney
Row 17: 98 Michael McDowell 38 David Gilliland
Row 18: 36 J.J. Yeley 83 David Reutimann
Row 19: 35 Josh Wise 34 David Ragan
Row 20: 19 Mike Bliss 93 Travis Kvapil
Row 21: 87 Joe Nemechek 44 Scott Riggs
Row 22: 32 Ken Schrader
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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