The Commercial Appeal

Earnhardt sets record, takes pole

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. clocked a lap at 183.636 mph to wrest the qualifying record for Kentucky Speedway at Sparta from Hendrick Motorsport­s teammate Jimmie Johnson and capture the pole for Saturday night’s race, which starts at 6:30 (TNT). Earnhardt’s speed was nearly 2 mph faster than Johnson’s 181.818 mph last June.

Carl Edwards (183.306 mph) took the outside front. Johnson was third at 183.144, with Kyle Busch (182.593) fourth.

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