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April 30, 2022

Chris Buescher lands first Cup Series pole in Dover qualifying

Chris Buescher rolled to the first Busch Light Pole Award of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Saturday’s qualifying session at Dover Motor Speedway.

RELATED: Starting lineup | Weekend schedule

Buescher set the pace in the final 10-driver group, posting a best lap of 160.149 mph in the No. 17 RFK Racing Ford. He scored the organization’s first pole in nearly five years, dating back to May 2017 at Talladega Superspeedway, and he became the fourth first-time pole winner so far this season in the Cup Series.

“I guess it is not something that I have ever had a whole lot of emphasis on,” Buescher said of his qualifying effort. “At the end of the day it is all about that checkered flag at the end of the race. It is really cool, though. I have been really close here at Dover on the Xfinity side and this is a place I have loved coming to forever. I love watching it on TV. 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. 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.”

Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota started second in Sunday’s portion of the DuraMAX Drydene 400 presented by RelaDyne (postponed to Monday; will resume at noon ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott were fourth and fifth, respectively, and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney wrapped up the top five.

Ross Chastain, last week’s winner at Talladega Superspeedway, was the leader in the first group of qualifying and started seventh Sunday. Elliott was fastest in qualifying’s Group B. The top five from each group formed the 10-driver field that ran for the pole on the 1-mile concrete track.

Cindric, Kurt Busch top eventful practice sessions

Austin Cindric and Kurt Busch set the pace in each practice group Saturday morning at Dover, avoiding the multiple spins and crashes that plagued others.

2022 April30 William Byron Main Image
Torey Fox | NASCAR Digital Media

Cindric, this year’s Daytona 500 winner, was fastest overall at 157.846 mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate was followed by a pair of Kaulig Racing teammates — AJ Allmendinger (157.805 mph) and Justin Haley (157.694). Denny Hamlin registered the fourth-best lap on the combined speed chart, and Busch — fastest in Group B — was fifth overall in the 36-car field.

MORE: Practice results

The divided practice sessions were marked by several pitfalls, the heaviest hits snaring the primary cars of William Byron and Josh Bilicki. Both Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports team and Bilicki’s Spire Motorsports group unloaded backup cars to prep for Monday’s 400-miler.

“Just hate it for our guys more than anything,” said Byron, who is ranked third in the championship standings. “Have to pull out a backup car obviously. The primary was probably going to be really fast and I know our back-up car can be just as fast and we can still go and try to win on (Monday). But just a little bit over-confident on my end (in the accident).”

Tyler Reddick’s No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was involved in a pair of scrapes in Group B. Rookies Todd Gilliland (Group A) and Harrison Burton (Group B) also sustained damage in separate single-car incidents.

Contributing: NASCAR Wire Service