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Martin Truex Jr. takes top spot for Dover

There's no track on the Sprint Cup calendar that Martin Truex Jr. likes more than Dover: he's won here, and his last pole position was here in 2010.
Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr. clinched pole position by just three thousandths of a second over Chase contender Kurt Busch, ahead of Sunday afternoon's AAA 400 Sprint Cup race.

Truex's time of 22.641s was the best by anyone so far this weekend on the one-mile oval Dover International Speedway, making him the only driver to top 158mph during the session. It gives him his sixth Cup career pole in 218 starts. The last time he was on pole position was here at Dover in May 2010, and this is also the venue that gave him his only Cup victory in 2007: he's started from the top ten in all of the last four Dover outings.

“I feel like I understand what it takes to get around the place,” sais Truex of his favourite high-banked oval. “I love coming here. It's a really, really challenging and difficult racetrack, and if you don't like it, it's one of those places that you're never going to figure out."

Kurt Busch also has a good record here, having finished in the top five three times out of the last five races here. "We loosened the car up this morning, anticipating the track coming to us," said Busch. "That's just a sign of a team that's confident in their equipment, to make that kind of adjustment, even without much practice."

Having been fastest in the first practice session on Friday, Paul Menard will start on the second row alongside the next-highest Chase contender, Carl Edwards.

"It was a good run for us," said Menard. "Obviously wanted that pole, we have talked all year we have a win now, we want to get a pole. Still shaking a little bit from the run it is really fast obviously; track is a lot greener than it was yesterday with the rain over night."

"We've got a really great race car," said an optimistic Edwards. "I think I probably left a little bit out there, but this car is so good I didn't want to mess up qualifying. I knew I had one shot at it, one lap, and I'm just happy to start this race today and get it in."

Two more Chase contenders, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson, form the third row of the grid - and will be hoping that they don't clash on-track as they did toward the end of last week's race at New Hampshire. Johnson in particular needs a strong result - and ideally a win - if he's going to kick start his hopes of a sixth consecutive title in 2011.

Another Chase driver in desperate need of a strong result is Denny Hamlin, who qualified in 11th place - although realistically it's already too late for him to claw his way back into title contention after two disastrous races to start the Chase off.




Related Pictures

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Martin Truex Jr. won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 42nd Annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 with a lap of 22.641 seconds, 159.004 mph. It`s his his sixth pole in 218 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Johnson advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS races to win Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with his daughter, Ella Sofia Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory win Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick drives the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet back to pit road after cutting a tyre during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, lead the field to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare/Project Pink Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, Driver of the #51 Toyota Care Toyota takes the chequered flag to win the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, Driver of the #51Toyota Care Toyota celebrates winning the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The green flag waves at the start of the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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