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Hamlin makes statement of intent with pole

"It's a good day for us, we've had a good car all weekend long," said Truex, who also felt that pole position had been within his reach. "I just messed up in three and four a little bit. We should have had the pole there. That's my bad."

Other Chase contenders in the top ten include Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle in sixth, Hendrick Motorports' Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne in seventh and ninth respectively, and Penske's Brad Keselowski in tenth.

"That was a really good lap," said Biffle. "A little bit too free, but it was a better lap than we've been putting down. The car turned really good ... We'll get a good pit road selection. We think our car is pretty good, but we thought that the last couple of weeks until the race started, but we do feel better about this car with the way we ran in practice."

Gordon was happy to have been one of the first cars out to make a qualifying run. "It's good that we went early, the track has good grip," he said. "I got a decent lap [but] I didn't get the best lap. When the track is like this you just think 'Wow this is Dover, so fast, high banked, it's cool' - and you just go and jump on the gas, and you just can't."

Kasey Kahne, meanwhile, admitted that he had been somewhat caught out by the grip in the overcast conditions. "The weather surprised me a little bit - I thought the track would be a little slippery today in qualifying but it had a lot of grip out there even with the cooler temperatures," he said. "My lap was great; the other guys were really good too so we were just right there. It was close."

Keselowski added that qualifying at over was always a gamble. "You have to commit to your lap and basically throw an educated guess at you lap. It's like playing hopscotch in the dark; you're jumping into the square but you don't really know where the square is," he explained.

"You really have to commit to your qualifying lap and trust your setup," he added, describing Saturday's performance as a solid run. "I took it easy on the first lap; sometimes you have to slow down to go fast at Dover."

Two more Chase contenders just missed out on the top ten and will start side by side on the sixth row of the grid for Sunday's race.

"I stuck to my plan and tried to run one hard one," said Jimmie Johnson who was 11th fastest in the session. "Three and four were a bit exciting and I knew I left some time on the table so I had to run a second. I got a respectful lap out of it."

"We struggled a lot yesterday, so it was a good lap," said Matt Kenseth who will begin tomorrow's race from 12th. "It was a decent lap to how we have been running. We were so far off yesterday that we never worked on qualifying at all, so that was our first lap in qualifying trim."




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