Brad Keselowski won his fifth pole in 174 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races after posting a lap of 21.892s (164.444mph) at the one-mile Dover International Speedway in qualifying on Friday afternoon.
It's Keselowski's second pole and tenth top ten start this year, and his first-ever Cup pole in nine races at Dover International Speedway.
"They gave me a great car here with the Miller Lite Ford Fusion," Keselowski admitted. "I didn't feel like I got it all the first run. I like this group qualifying and I got another shot at it.
"I think we have been pretty decent and there are a lot of great cars in race trim. The #18 looked good and the #4 has been strong and we have a lot to go. There is a lot left in the weekend. We have practice tomorrow and we just have to keep working."
Kyle Busch had earlier topped the first elimination round of qualifying as well as the earlier practice session, but in the end he was unable to quite replicate the form in the second and final stage of qualifying, falling short of Keselowski by 0.088s.
"The #2 and #22 always seem to go faster on their second runs and we just got beat by speed there," said Busch. "Our car was really fast in practice and really liked it there but just wasn't able to quite get the speed we wanted there in qualifying. I don't think anybody really did. I think everybody kind of slowed down. Overall we slowed down a little more than most I guess. I don't know. But, just didn't quite get enough there that last run and come up short."
That puts Busch on the front row for Sunday afternoon's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks race, just ahead of Keselowski's Penske team mate Joey Logano who was third-fastest and who will now head the second row of the grid just ahead of last week's race winner Jimmie Johnson.
"All I heard was Kyle say he came up a little short and I guess I am the same thing, just a little shorter," said Logano. "We picked up a lot of speed from where we were in practice. Our Shell Pennzoil Ford wasn't very good and didn't have a bunch of speed but we made good adjustments to get faster there. We just over adjusted a little from the first run to the second run on trying to free it up and we just couldn't give it the gas as aggressive as I needed to."
"Good lap, [but] did have a moment off of 4," reported Johnson of his own effort. "Certainly dragged some speed out of the car with that. I think we could have been a little bit better. I'm not sure where it would have put us, but a strong day. We unloaded fast and we made it through each round and had a lot of speed in the car. I'm excited about the weekend."
Kyle Larson is the highest-placed rookie on the grid in fifth position, putting him alongside Johnson's Hendrick Motorsport team mate Jeff Gordon who was playing down the problems he experienced with back spasms last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent," said Gordon. "I'm back closer to normal, which is just always aggravation and some discomfort. I'm still feeling some of the affects of what went on last week, but I felt good in the car. I didn't have any sharp pains, so that's good.
"I just had a week of rest and normal activity. Lots of ice this week," he continued. "I was pretty sore on Monday and Tuesday after that long 600, but that's not totally unusual; but probably just a little bit more than normal because of all that I went through. So, I feel good for this weekend."
Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger and Greg Biffle all made it into the top 12 shootout, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman just missed out and will therefore start from row seven on Sunday.
The Cup drivers all get two more practice sessions on Saturday to dial in their cars for the race. Dover is also hosting Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races this weekend.
Full Sprint Cup qualifying results