When you're hot...
Four days after winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race, David Reutimann won his second pole of the season and the third of his career, qualifying his #00 Toyota in the top spot for Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.
The eleventh driver to make a qualifying run, Reutimann turned his lap at the Monster Mile in 22.960 seconds (156.794 mph) to edge Kasey Kahne (156.542 mph) for the top starting position. Kahne was first on the track for time trials, but only Reutimann could top the #9 Dodge, which is powered first the first time this season by the Dodge R6 engine.
Juan Pablo Montoya (156.020 mph) qualified third, followed by Reed Sorenson (155.952 mph), Kahne's teammate at Richard Petty Motorsports. Greg Biffle (155.932 mph), the most recent winner at Dover, claimed the fifth starting position. Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler will take the green flag from positions six through ten, respectively.
All four RPM drivers - Kahne, Sorenson, Allmendinger and Sadler - earned grid positions in the top 10.
Reutimann was concerned about his relatively early qualifying draw, but the concrete surface at Dover didn't change much throughout the afternoon.
"I worried a little bit about the earlier draw," Reutimann said. "It seems to be a mindset at most of the tracks we go to that when you go out and it's hotter, the track is obviously slower. It's a good thing that concrete surfaces like we have here at Dover don't seem to react as drastically to temperature changes as a lot of places we go to.
"When we went out, the temperature was about three degrees hotter than what it was when we practiced (Reutimann also paced the morning practice session), so it wasn't a great deal different. At the end of the day, I don't think going out early was a factor."
Kahne was pleased with the performance of the new engine, which the Penske Racing Dodges already have been using.
"So far. . . I can really tell the difference," he said. "I can really get off the corner and onto the straightaway because of the torque it has compared to the R5 (the engine he has been using). The new engine is something that we've needed, and I think that it's going to be really good with cars around me as well."
Kahne's RPM teammates are still running the old engine.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 22nd with team manager Brian Whitesell on the pit box, in the first run since Tony Eury Jr. was replaced as crew chief of the #88 Chevrolet on Thursday. Lance McGrew, who will serve as interim crew chief for Earnhardt starting next week at Pocono, will remain at Dover this weekend to work with the #88 team. McGrew became available when Brad Keselowski, with whom he was scheduled to work this weekend, failed to qualify the #25 Chevrolet for Sunday's race. Max Papis, Derrike Cope and David Starr also failed to make the 43-car field.
Jeff Gordon was the last of the top-35 drivers to make a qualifying run, but before he could reach the finish line on his first lap, his #24 Chevrolet broke loose in turn two and nosed into the outside wall. Gordon will go to a backup car and start from the rear in Sunday's race.
by Reid Spencer/Sporting News