Our Top 10 of 2013: No. 4 - High Clouds, High Haircut Fade Help Earnhardt Jr. Set NSCS Qualifying Record
Earnhardt Jr. Sets New NSCS Kentucky Speedway Track Qualifying Record
Dale Earnhardt Jr., delivered the fourth-best moment of our 2013 season when he took advantage of high clouds and a high haircut fade to claim the Fastest Man in Kentucky title by setting a new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) track qualifying record with a 183.636 mph (29.406 seconds) lap for the June 30 Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.
The Hendrick Motorsports confessed that he held unique advantages during his record-setting run to his first Kentucky Speedway NSCS pole award.
"In between the last practice and qualifying, I got my hair cut at Great Clips. That might've had something to do with it, too. I don't mind letting that secret out of the bag because they're a sponsor of mine. It really happened. I was a little lazy this week and it had been a been a few weeks since I had my haircut. Luckily, somebody from Great Clips was here to get the job done," he said.
He also benefitted from clouds that moved over the track moments before his No. 88 took to the track.
"I was sitting on pit row before we were about to go out and there had been about six to seven cars go before me that had cloud cover. I'm just thinking in my mind, 'The track temp is comin' down more and more and more. If we don't get any more sun, it'll continue to come down and we'll grab more speed. I could drive it deeper into the corner and be able to handle things. The tires would hook up. I'm just really going to have a good opportunity here," he said.
His effort eclipsed the previous NSCS track qualifying record set in 2012 by his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, with a 181.818 mph (29.700 seconds) lap.
Earnhardt Jr., held the race lead on Lap 39 of 267 when a tire remnant shed from Denny Hamlin's No. 11 car made contact with the No. 88, bent its right-side splitter and punched a hole in its grill.
The No. 88 team overcame the damage and fought its way to a 12th-place finish.
- Kentucky Speedway -