DOVER, DEL. — For the first time, a Roush-Fenway-Keselowski Racing car will start on the pole and with a driver who also earned his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole.
Chris Buescher earned the pole for Sunday’s DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway. Sunday will be Buescher’s 233rd Cup start but the first time he has started on the pole.
“It is cool to get it here. I still have one of the smaller Miles The Monster trophies from the Xfinity side in the office at home,” Buescher said on his May 2015 Dover win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. “It is a special place for me and it is cool to get our first pole here. It has been a long time coming. Heck of a start for us.”
Buescher’s pole is his first-ever NASCAR pole, as he never won a pole in 74 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, dating back to 2011. Buescher has never made a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start.
The partnership between Jack Roush, Fenway Sports Group and Brad Keselowski also earned their first pole as Roush-Fenway-Keselowski Racing. Sunday will be RFK Racing’s 11th start.
“That’s pretty cool for RFK to get our first pole, my first Cup Series pole. Practice was very interesting and we had a lot of torn-up equipment. I was watching that with a lot of attention trying not to be one of those,” Buescher said. “I was fortunate enough that Brad [Keselowski] came over and he was seeing some things and helped me with some of the inputs from inside the car and what we were trying to achieve. He went out there and had a really good practice and good qualifying effort as well so we were able to apply some of what he was seeing and it turned out really good for us and our qualifying effort.”
Buescher ran a time of 22.479 seconds (160.149 MPH average) in the final round, besting:
Denny Hamlin (-0.057 secs.)
Kyle Larson (-0.073 secs)
Chase Elliott (-0.130 secs)
Ryan Blaney (-0.138 secs)
Alex Bowman (-0.147 secs)
Ross Chastain (-0.164 secs)
Daniel Suarez (-0.229 secs)
Bubba Wallace (-0.331 secs)
Kyle Busch (-0.380 secs)
Brad Keselowski qualified 20th with a time of 22.695 secs (158.625 MPH avg.)
For Roush, it is his first pole as an owner since Talladega in May 2017 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It is also Roush’s first non-superspeedway pole since Texas in May 2013 with Carl Edwards.
Saturday’s timed qualifying session was the first for the NASCAR Cup Series at Dover since Oct. 2019, when Denny Hamlin won the pole with a time of 21.559 seconds (166.984 MPH average). Hamlin qualified second Saturday with a time of 22.536 secs (159.744 MPH avg).
This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race is the first at Dover with the Gen 7 car. The car has a 4-inch rear spoiler, which is smaller than the 8-inch spoiler on the Gen 6 car in 2019 but bigger than what the Gen 6 had in 2016-18 and 2020-21 at Dover.
In 2016, the Gen 6 cars had a 3.5-inch rear spoiler and a 2.375-inch spoiler in 2017-18. At Dover and other shorter tracks, a 2.75-inch spoiler was on the Gen 6 in 2020-21.
The DuraMAX Drydene 400 goes green at 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, May 1, at Dover Motor Speedway (TV: FS1; Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio CH.90)