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Dover Qualifying Cancelled; Harvick Takes The Pole

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Twice this season NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying was washed out, twice Kevin Harvick was fastest in their only practice and once again capturing his second pole of the season. Harvick posted a time of 21.799 seconds and a speed of 165.145 MPH. Even with the rain halting final practice for the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200 in the Xfinity Series, it wasn’t the only thing that made news. The top 10 for the AAA 400 Drive For Autism was set by practice times.

Danica Patrick began to spill oil on the track which caused the bottom part of her car to catch fire and crash into an unprotected part of the inside wall. It also collected Tony Stewart causing him to crash also, causing most of practice to be red flagged. Jamie McMurray also caught the oil slick and reportedly hurt his elbow as he wrecked. All three appear to be okay and will go to backup cars on Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr looks to turn it around as he shoots for his second win at Dover. Junior will start second as he has finished outside the top 10 in the last three races this season after two consecutive second place finishes. Earnhardt’s only win was in 2001.Kyle Busch was third fastest and looks to reach four wins after Dover. Kyle is without crew chief Adam Stevens and front-tire changer Josh Leslie, who are suspended for this race after violating the new lug nut rule.

Carl Edwards looks to get back on track after finishing outside the top 10 the last two races, and two consecutive wins before then. Edwards will start fourth as he looks to become the second driver to win three races, and win his second Dover race since 2007. Roush Fenway Racing may not look much better from last season, but Ricky Stenhouse Jr is doing what he can to fix that. Stenhouse starts fifth and tries to earn his second career top 10 at Dover after finishing eighth there last Fall.

Denny Hamlin was off to a good start after winning the Daytona 500, but has faltered since. After three top five’s in the first five races, Hamlin has fell outside the top 10 in five of the last six races and looks to rebound with a sixth place start. Can Martin Truex Jr put an end to his bad luck at Dover? Well the first couple of races he led the most this season he bottomed out, but a start at seventh could prove more appropriate as he has finished in the top seven in three of the last four Dover races since joining Furniture Row Racing.

Ryan Newman was eighth fastest, but should be more focused on how he can avoid being the next driver to go 100 races without a win. Newman hasn’t fared well in three of the last four Dover since joining Richard Childress Racing. Kurt Busch took no chances of risking his car as he got things adjusted and was able to run ninth. But since winning at Dover in 2011, Kurt hasn’t scored a top 10 in the last eight races. Both he and Harvick had their cars fixed during practice after Danica and Tony’s wreck.

Matt Kenseth hopes Dover will turn his luck around now that he has scored two top 10’s the last three races. Starting 10th, Kenseth has four top 10’s in the last five Dover races, but a third Dover win would prove to be solid enough to keep his head up. All five JGR related cars are once again starting in the top 10, which is practically 50/50 that someone from the team will pull off a win.

If it’s one driver they need to worry about, it’s Jimmie Johnson. Johnson owns Dover as he leads all drivers with 10 wins. He’s won three of the last five, but was 21st fastest. Other Dover winners who need to get to Victory Lane this season are Newman, Stewart and Greg Biffle.

Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law

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