Dale Earnhardt Jr. to start first at Kentucky

Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first pole of the season Friday and will lead the field to green in Saturday night's Quaker State 400.

Junior's lap of 183.636 MPH was enough to beat Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson, the only two other drivers to break the 183 MPH barrier. And, has become customary this season with NASCAR's new car, Junior's pole speed was a track record. (Nine drivers broke the previous track record.)

It's the 12th career pole for the series' most popular driver and his first since the fall race at Richmond last season. Last year at Kentucky, he started seventh and finished fourth.

Kyle Busch will start fourth and Marcos Ambrose starts fifth. There were just 43 cars at Kentucky, so no one will miss the race.

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