Earnhardt, Jr. Grabs The Pole At Atlanta

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the field in qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

(photo courtesy of NASCAR)

As the Sun was dropping in the western horizon, the temperature was following closely at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday evening.  The pole winner, the driver of the HMS #88 AMP Energy/ National Guard Chevy  was equally as cool as he climbed out of his race car.

Dale, Jr. scored his first pole since 2008, capturing the pole with a speed of 192.761 mph.  That speed was  more than a half a mile per hour than the runner-up qualifier, Kyle Busch.  Not known for his qualifying prowess, this is only Dale, Jr.’s ninth career pole, the second pole at Atlanta, and the fastest ever turned in a CoT chassis.

Is this turnaround the results of the off season effort by Rick Hendrick and both crew chiefs of the #5 and #88 teams to resurrect the #88 team to a championship caliber?  “Hopefully we will see the same type of improvements for our team on Sunday,” said Junior, who hasn’t won a race in the last 60 attempts!  “It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

This pole is the second one for him since he transitioned to Hendrick Motor Sports in 2008, and follows a second place qualifying effort for the Daytona 500 three weeks ago.


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