Chase Elliott made some history at Dover International Speedway on Friday, setting the Monster Mile’s NASCAR qualifying record with an average lap speed of 165.960 mph.
Five drivers topped the five-year-old record set by Brad Keselowski (164.444 mph) in 2014., led by Elliott, NASCAR’s most popular driver and the winner of Dover’s last Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in October.
“I was afraid it wasn’t going to be good enough,” Elliott said. “We’ll try to take advantage of that good pit box on Sunday.”
It’s Elliott’s first pole victory at Dover and sixth NASCAR Cup Series pole.
While the opening practice was conducted under cloudy conditions, qualifying took place with sunny skies. Speeds dropped from the first practice, where 23 drivers topped the old qualifying record set by Brad Keselowski (164.444 mph) in 2014.
“Typically when the sun comes out, and other cars are laying rubber down, the track is going to lose grip,” Elliott said. “That’s part of it. Luckily we were able to get a good lap down.”
Saturday features two more practice sessions at 9:05 a.m. and Noon, with the “Gander RV 200” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race green flag set for Sunday at 2 p.m.