Brad Keselowski sets track speed record en route to earning Sprint Cup pole at Dover

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Brad Keselowski must have gotten tired having started on the outside pole so many times this season.

Enough was enough on Friday for Keselowski, who after sitting on the outside pole six times in the first 12 races of 2014, earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season for Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.

Keselowski, who is seeking his second Sprint Cup victory of the season, recorded a DIS track record qualifying lap of 164.444 mph. It was Keselowski’s fifth career Sprint Cup pole and the third for Team Penske in 2014.

“We had a great car today, all day,” Keselowski said. “I just wanted to get going.”

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch won the outside pole with a best lap of 163.785 mph.

“The 2 (Keselowski) and 22 (Joey Logano) always seem to go faster on their second runs, and we just got beat on speed there,” Busch said. “The car’s been real fast all weekend, we’re happy with it in race trim and everything, so I think we’ll be good for the race on Sunday.”

Qualifying third through 12th in the third and final session were: Keselowski’s Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano (163.688), Coca-Cola 600 winner Jimmie Johnson (163.362), Kyle Larson (163.080), Denny Hamlin (163.066), Jeff Gordon (163.066), Kevin Harvick (162.499), Brian Vickers (162.411), Clint Bowyer (162.243), AJ Allmendinger (162.155) and Greg Biffle (160.995).

Team Penske – either Keselowski or Logano – has now sat on the front row in either the No. 1 or No. 2 spots in knockout qualifying 10 times in the first 13 races this season (there was no knockout qualifying in the season-opening Daytona 500).

Because only 43 cars made qualifying attempts, there were no cars that failed to qualify.

Here’s how they’ll line up for Sunday’s FedEx400 Benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway:

Row 1 Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch

Row 2 Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson

Row 3 Kyle Larson, Jeff Gordon

Row 4 Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick

Row 5 Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer

Row 6 AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle

Row 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman

Row 8 Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr.

Row 9 Kasey Kahne, Brett Moffitt

Row 10 Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart

Row 11 Matt Kenseth, Casey Mears

Row 12 Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch

Row 13 Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Row 14 Marcos Ambrose, Danica Patrick

Row 15 Carl Edwards, Justin Allgaier

Row 16 Cole Whitt, David Gilliland

Row 17 Josh Wise, David Ragan

Row 18 Alex Bowman, Landon Cassill

Row 19 JJ Yeley, Reed Sorenson

Row 20 Michael Annett, David Stremme

Row 21 Ryan Truex, Dave Blaney

Row 22 Blake Koch

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April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994