Kentucky NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr takes first pole of 2013

Dale Earnhardt Jr earned his first pole of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season in qualifying at Kentucky Speedway

Kentucky NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr takes first pole of 2013

It looked like his championship-leading Hendrick team-mate Jimmie Johnson might be hard to beat when he went 0.2 seconds clear of the field with a record 29.485s lap early on.

But Earnhardt was able to topple Johnson by 0.079s as he put himself on pole for the first time since Richmond last autumn.

Roush Fenway's Carl Edwards then got between the Hendrick duo to claim the outside front row spot with a lap 0.053s down on Earnhardt.

Joe Gibbs Racing duo Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin put their cars fourth and sixth, separated by Marcos Ambrose's Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

The remaining top 10 spots went to Ryan Newman, champion Brad Keselowski, Brian Vickers and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The Kentucky race takes place on Saturday night local time.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 29.406s 2. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 29.459s +0.053s 3. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 29.485s +0.079s 4. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 29.574s +0.168s 5. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 29.575s +0.169s 6. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 29.615s +0.209s 7. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 29.629s +0.223s 8. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 29.639s +0.233s 9. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 29.683s +0.277s 10. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 29.716s +0.310s 11. Joey Logano Penske Ford 29.718s +0.312s 12. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 29.727s +0.321s 13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 29.770s +0.364s 14. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 29.775s +0.369s 15. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 29.808s +0.402s 16. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 29.816s +0.410s 17. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Toyota 29.852s +0.446s 18. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 29.856s +0.450s 19. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 29.862s +0.456s 20. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 29.873s +0.467s 21. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 29.894s +0.488s 22. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 29.904s +0.498s 23. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 29.926s +0.520s 24. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 30.005s +0.599s 25. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 30.006s +0.600s 26. Austin Dillon Phoenix Chevrolet 30.033s +0.627s 27. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 30.102s +0.696s 28. David Stremme Swan Toyota 30.155s +0.749s 29. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 30.177s +0.771s 30. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet 30.292s +0.886s 31. Casey Mears Germain Ford 30.297s +0.891s 32. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 30.340s +0.934s 33. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 30.386s +0.980s 34. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 30.425s +1.019s 35. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 30.571s +1.165s 36. David Reutimann BK Toyota 30.597s +1.191s 37. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 30.615s +1.209s 38. David Ragan Front Row Ford 30.622s +1.216s 39. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 30.714s +1.308s 40. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 30.733s +1.327s 41. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 30.816s +1.410s 42. Scott Riggs Xxxtreme Ford 30.832s +1.426s 43. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 31.216s +1.810s 
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