Earnhardt Jr. captures pole at Atlanta, sets COT record

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole position for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a history-making lap.

In his qualifying run Friday, Earnhardt ran 28.761 seconds, 192.761 mph, setting a record for fastest in the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, the Car of Tomorrow. The COT was used part-time in 2007 and became the standard racecar for the series in 2008. The previous fastest was Jimmie Johnson's speed of 192.376 mph at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October 2009.

Earnhardt's pole is the ninth in his Sprint Cup career and his second at Atlanta. His last pole came at Texas in April 2008, 68 starts ago. This is his third top-10 start in 2010.

"We’ve qualified well this year so far and hopefully we’ll start seeing those same improvements in our race team on Sunday. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, so we feel pretty good,” Earnhardt said.

Kyle Busch will start on the outside pole, qualifying with a time of 28.833 seconds and speed of 192.280 mph.

The Kobalt Tools 500 will be broadcast Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. Green flag is set for 1:16 p.m. ET.

Starting lineup:
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  
2. Kyle Busch  
3. Juan Pablo Montoya  
4. Mark Martin
5. Jeff Gordon  
6. Kasey Kahne  
7. Ryan Newman  
8. Elliott Sadler  
9. David Reutimann  
10. Carl Edwards  
11. Kurt Busch  
12. Marcos Ambrose  
13. Greg Biffle  
14. Matt Kenseth  
15. Tony Stewart  
16. Jimmie Johnson  
17. David Ragan  
18. Clint Bowyer  
19. Martin Truex Jr.  
20. Denny Hamlin  
21. Bobby Labonte  
22. Jeff Burton  
23. Paul Menard  
24. Jamie McMurray  
25. A.J. Allmendinger  
26. Brian Vickers  
27. Dave Blaney  
28. Brad Keselowski  
29. Joey Logano  
30. Mike Bliss  
31. Max Papis  
32. Scott Speed  
33. Joe Nemechek
34. Bill Elliott  
35. Kevin Harvick
36. Sam Hornish Jr.  
37. David Gilliland  
38. Regan Smith  
39. Robby Gordon  
40. Travis Kvapil+  
41. Kevin Conway+*  
42. Boris Said+     
43. Michael McDowell  

Did Not Qualify:
Aric Almirola
Casey Mears  
Terry Cook*

+Set by owner points
Photo: Jason Smith / Getty Images for NASCAR
Earnhardt Jr. captures pole at Atlanta, sets COT record Earnhardt Jr. captures pole at Atlanta, sets COT record Reviewed by Admin on Friday, March 05, 2010 Rating: 5