Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Dover, Del., the third leg of the 10-race Chase for the Cup championship playoff.
Earnhardt, who needs a strong finish Sunday to bolster his title hopes, turned a lap of 161.849 mph in his No. 88 Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway on Friday to earn the first spot.
Chase leader Matt Kenseth, who drives the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, qualified second at 161.805 mph on the so-called "Monster Mile" and will start on the front row alongside Earnhardt.
Ryan Newman was third, Carl Edwards qualified fourth and Aric Almirola was fifth.
The popular Earnhardt enters the race 11th in the 13-driver Chase, 62 points behind Kenseth. A driver can earn up to 48 points in a single race.
Kenseth teammate Kyle Busch is second in the standings, 14 points behind Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson is 18 points back in third. Busch qualified 14th for Sunday's race and Johnson was eighth.
Qualifying results for some other Chase contenders included Kurt Busch in ninth, Joey Logano in 11th and Kevin Harvick in 12th.
Danica Patrick qualified 31st in the 43-car field with a lap of 157.563 mph, more than four mph slower than Earnhardt.
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