Chase Elliott breaks track record to take Cup pole at Dover
When you’re hot, you’re hot. Such is the case with Chase Elliott.
Fresh off his win last Sunday at Talladega, the Hendrick Motorsports driver earned his second pole of the season (first was at Bristol) and the sixth of his Cup career Friday at Dover International Speedway.
Elliott, who won at last fall’s playoff race at Dover, covered the 1-mile concrete track at a speed of 165.960 mph, shattering the track record of 164.444 mph, set in June 2014 by Brad Keselowski. The top five qualifiers all broke Keselowski’s mark.
"(The track is) super fast, the corner speeds are just so high, just a lot more throttle through the corner than what I felt we’ve been carrying,” Elliott told Fox Sports 1. “It was a lot of fun.
“This place can be either a lot of fun in qualifying, or it can be a handful. Today it was a fun one. Team Hendrick 1-2 is awesome. Hopefully we can back it up on Sunday.”
Elliott led a two other Hendrick drivers in the top five: William Byron will start alongside him on the front row. It’s the fourth time this season that HMS has captured both spots on the front row. Alex Bowman qualified fifth (164.707 mph). The other HMS driver, 11-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson, qualified 12th (163.347 mph).
At 23 years old, Elliott is also the youngest Cup pole winner at Dover.
Fellow Chevrolet driver Kyle Larson, who has been mired in a season-long slump, qualified third (165.464 mph). Joey Logano was the highest Ford driver (fourth, 164.722 mph).
The top Toyota driver was Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin (eighth, 164.151 mph). Points leader Kyle Busch struggled in qualifying. He will start 22nd (161.921 mph). It his worst qualifying start at Dover during his time with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Also, Aric Almirola’s car chief was ejected after the team failed inspection twice before qualifying. No other team failed inspection as many times Friday.
There will be two more Cup practice sessions on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s race.