Keselowski sits on 3rd Chase race pole after rain at Dover
DOVER, DEL. >> Brad Keselowski says having all 16 Chase drivers start in the front of the field will be “fun to watch.”
He just won’t catch much of the action.
Keselowski has the pole after rain wiped out qualifying Friday at Dover International Speedway. It was the third straight Dover race where qualifying was canceled because of rain.
Keselowski benefited this time because Sunday’s Sprint Cup race was set on owner points. The 16 Chase drivers make up the first eight rows in the field, and it should be a battle from the start — the playoff field is cut from 16 to 12 drivers following Dover.
“I won’t get to see it, but you will,” Keselowski said. “That will be fun to watch.”
Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick have already advanced to the next round with Chase victories. Truex joins Keselowski on the front row. Kyle Busch starts third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.
Other Chase qualifiers, from sixth to 16th are: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, and Chris Buescher.
Buescher made the Chase on the back of a rain-shortened victory at Pocono and made the rookie driver perhaps the most surprising playoff entrant in NASCAR history.
He pretty much has to win to advance to the second round, akin to a No. 16 seed beating a 1 in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s kind of nice to be able to go into a race and just worry about doing the best you can,” he said. “It’s going to make it where we’re able to go out here and not worry about it, take some chances, try and utilize some risk, and see if we can pull something off.”
Here are some other items of note from a short day at Dover: PRACTCE >> Larson turned the fastest practice lap of the day with a speed of 165.578 mph. Kyle Busch had the best 10-consecutive lap average at 159.336.
Larson holds the final transfer spot by five points over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon.
Larson finished second in the spring at Dover. OVER AT DOVER >> McMurray was eliminated from the Chase at Dover last season after finishing fourth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed McMurray late in the race to tie him in points for the final transfer spot. Earnhardt advanced because his best finish of third in the opening round was better than McMurray’s top finish of fourth.
“Last year was a lot of fun, getting to race with the No. 88 and knowing that I had to finish ahead of him in order to advance to the next round,” McMurray said. “He was ahead on one restart and I’d be ahead on the next, so that was a fun battle.” WIN AND IN >> McMurray, Dillon, Stewart and Buescher can only guarantee a clinch with a win. Each could clinch without a win, but would need varying levels of help. FIRST IS TOPS >> Keselowski took pride in starting first on points because it mean his Team Penske has the been the best this late into the season.
“It’s certainly still something to be very proud of, this far into the season and being the points leader,” he said.
Brad Keselowski gets ready to practice for a race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.