Kyle Larson scored his first Busch Pole Award of the season at Dover International Speedway with a 158.103 mph lap and will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday’s AAA 400. It is his fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career pole.
He spoke about the adjustments the team made after the first two rounds of qualifying to fine tune his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
“The first round caught me off guard. I was really loose getting in, but they made great adjustments on the DC Solar Chevy throughout the next two rounds,” he said. “The second round we were probably a little too tight, but they kind of found the happy medium there for the final round. So, I’m happy about that.”
Larson has four top fives and six top 10s with an average finish of 7.875 at the Monster Mile with a runner up finish in this race last year. After capturing the pole, he heads into the weekend with confidence.
“We’ve always qualified good here,” he added. “I had yet to get a pole. I’ve raced well here but have yet to get a win. Maybe we’ll get both out of the way this weekend.”
Kevin Harvick will join Larson on the front row after a qualifying lap of 157.494 mph.
“We’re feeling good about qualifying well,” Harvick said. “That’s not been something that we’ve done 100-percent great here. We’ve qualified OK. It definitely goes a long way in helping get your day started.
“This is definitely a race track that can take a while to work your way up the field, so you don’t want to dig yourself a hole early on. They made the car better all three rounds. We ran our fastest lap at the end. I lost a lot of time in (Turns) 1 and 2. I got myself hung a little higher and longer than I needed to finish the corner. Still a good lap for us and I’m looking forward to race runs.”
Martin Truex Jr. will start in third after a lap of 157.432 mph.
“Yeah, Turn 4 we just got a little too tight both second and third round,” he said. “Thought maybe second round I could just drive the car a little different. If it hit it right, we’d be really good and I had an awesome lap going until I got there that last round. I thought I had a shot at it and just got tight off 4 again, so missed it a little bit there, but overall it was another good solid day for us on a Friday, looking forward to getting ready to race tomorrow.”
Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will round out the top five starting positions.
Of note, Jimmie Johnson, an 11-time winner at Dover, is hoping to find victory lane for the first time this season. One more checkered flag would put him in a three-way tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip on the all-time list, with 84 wins. However, he will have his work cut out for him as Johnson did not make it through to the third round of qualifying and will start 19th.
Tune into the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Sunday at 2 p.m. on FS1 with radio coverage by MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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Dover starting lineup AAA 400 5-6-18