Earnhardt takes first season pole

Dale Earnhardt Jr scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole position of the season in qualifying for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

Earnhardt takes first season pole

In a session marked by Michael McDowell's major accident, Earnhardt Jr was able to keep his head together and go on track after a long delay to repair the SAFER barrier, to set the best lap of the day at the mile and a half track.

Earnhardt set a time of 28.286 seconds at an average speed of 190.907 mph, which was a massive two tenths of a second faster than Roush Fenway's Carl Edwards who set his lap early in the session when conditions were probably not at their best.

"That's a good lap, obviously," Earnhardt said after claiming his first pole position for Hendrick Motorsports. "They just build fast cars, man. It's a lot of fun. I'm surprised we were able to do as good as we did when we were racing against them."

Kyle Busch was third fastest for Joe Gibbs Racing while Ryan Newman and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson rounded up the top five. Meanwhile point's leader and former Texas winner Jeff Burton didn't have his best qualifying effort of the year and will start down from 35th place.

David Reutimann was sixth fastest and the quickest among those who needed to make the field on time, matching almost exactly what he had done in the morning practice session where he had been fastest overall.

Also having a good qualifying was Red Bull's Mike Skinner in ninth, while two places behind him will be Juan Pablo Montoya in 11th, having his best qualifying result of the year thus far.

"We started pretty bad in practice," Montoya said. "The car was really loose getting in like it was in Vegas, so we made a lot of changes. I was pretty happy with the way we qualified. We made a lot of progress. So far, we have a pretty good car."

Sam Hornish was the highest qualifying rookie in 17th just ahead of Jeff Gordon, while Patrick Carpentier also made the field and will start the race from 27th.

Meanwhile Dario Franchitti didn't qualify and will thus miss his first Cup race of the season, which puts him in a difficult situation to get back in the top 35 in the owner standing.

Chad Mcumbee and Burney Lamar also failed to qualify.

Pos  Driver               Make        Speed     Time
 1.  Dale Earnhardt Jr    Chevrolet   190.907   28.286
 2.  Carl Edwards         Ford        189.487   28.498 + 0.212
 3.  Kyle Busch           Toyota      189.069   28.561 + 0.275
 4.  Ryan Newman          Dodge       189.042   28.565 + 0.279
 5.  Jimmie Johnson       Chevrolet   188.772   28.606 + 0.320
 6.  David Reutimann      Toyota      188.732   28.612 + 0.326
 7.  David Ragan          Ford        188.534   28.642 + 0.356
 8.  Matt Kenseth         Ford        188.475   28.651 + 0.365
 9.  Mike Skinner         Toyota      188.390   28.664 + 0.378
10.  Kasey Kahne          Dodge       188.245   28.686 + 0.400
11.  Juan Montoya         Dodge       188.160   28.699 + 0.413
12.  Martin Truex Jr      Chevrolet   188.140   28.702 + 0.416
13.  Scott Riggs          Chevrolet   188.009   28.722 + 0.436
14.  Denny Hamlin         Toyota      187.990   28.725 + 0.439
15.  Robby Gordon         Dodge       187.931   28.734 + 0.448
16.  Greg Biffle          Ford        187.865   28.744 + 0.458
17.  Sam Hornish Jr       Dodge       187.741   28.763 + 0.477
18.  Jeff Gordon          Chevrolet   187.611   28.783 + 0.497
19.  Paul Menard          Chevrolet   187.598   28.785 + 0.499
20.  Michael Waltrip      Toyota      187.591   28.786 + 0.500
21.  Kevin Harvick        Chevrolet   187.493   28.801 + 0.515
22.  Casey Mears          Chevrolet   187.474   28.804 + 0.518
23.  Kurt Busch           Dodge       187.311   28.829 + 0.543
24.  Tony Stewart         Toyota      187.195   28.847 + 0.561
25.  Clint Bowyer         Chevrolet   187.156   28.853 + 0.567
26.  Elliott Sadler       Dodge       187.007   28.876 + 0.590
27.  Patrick Carpentier   Dodge       186.981   28.880 + 0.594
28.  Bill Elliott         Ford        186.974   28.881 + 0.595
29.  Dave Blaney          Toyota      186.948   28.885 + 0.599
30.  Bobby Labonte        Dodge       186.935   28.887 + 0.601
31.  Mark Martin          Chevrolet   186.793   28.909 + 0.623
32.  Jamie McMurray       Ford        186.645   28.932 + 0.646
33.  JJ Yeley             Toyota      186.220   28.998 + 0.712
34.  Regan Smith          Chevrolet   186.046   29.025 + 0.739
35.  Jeff Burton          Chevrolet   185.995   29.033 + 0.747
36.  Brian Vickers        Toyota      185.752   29.071 + 0.785
37.  John Andretti        Chevrolet   185.669   29.084 + 0.798
38.  Travis Kvapil        Ford        185.631   29.090 + 0.804
39.  Jeremy Mayfield      Chevrolet   185.350   29.134 + 0.848
40.  Michael McDowell     Toyota      182.933   29.519 + 1.233
41.  David Gilliland      Ford        -
42.  Reed Sorenson        Dodge       -
43.  Joe Nemechek         Chevrolet   185.191   29.159 + 0.873
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