NASCAR Notebook

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

Associated Press
The NASCAR notebook …
DOVER, Del. ó Tony Stewart needs a tremendous rally at Dover to keep his perfect Chase season alive.
Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet has not performed like the car that romped to victories in the first two races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He was horrible at practice and that carried over into Saturday’s qualifying, where he turned a lap of 156.760 mph and will start the third Chase race 27 spots behind polesitter Martin Truex Jr.
Stewart’s two wins have only given him a seven-point cushion over Kevin Harvick entering Sunday’s race. With four Chase drivers starting in the top six at the concrete mile, this could be the race where the standings get rattled.
Stewart had little explanation for his struggles, other than saying his car was tight.
Truex returned to the site of his only career Cup win and turned a lap of 159.004 mph to win the pole at Dover International Speedway. He crashed the Chase party with his first pole of the season. He won his only career Cup race in 2007 at the Monster Mile.
“I love this place,” Truex said. “I feel like I understand what it takes to get around this place. I’ve just been fortunate enough to have good race cars here.”
Truex, of nearby Mayetta, N.J., has long considered Dover his home track. Truex, 18th in the points standings, has two of his six career poles at Dover.
Chase driver Kurt Busch was second. Paul Menard was third. Chase drivers Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson took the next three spots.
Like Stewart, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon also struggled during qualifying and starts 34th.
Denny Hamlin, all but out of contention, starts 11th. Brad Keselowski was 15th, Matt Kenseth 18th, Ryan Newman 20th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 21st, and Harvick starts 22nd.
DOVER, Del. (AP) ó Carl Edwards only stumbled on his back flip.
His race was as flawless as expected on concrete.
Edwards dominated again at Dover International Speedway, winning his seventh race of the season in the Nationwide Series. Edwards completed the season sweep having won the May race at Dover in a wild finish.
He coasted on Saturday, leading 179 of the 200 laps at one of his favorite tracks in NASCAR. He’s earned the nickname “Concrete Carl” because of his run of success on the concrete tracks.
“Concrete demands a perfect car and a perfect setup,” Edwards said.
All he needs to work on is that perfect landing.
Edwards parked the No. 60 Ford on its high, slanted banking. He stumbled backward after his flip and had to catch himself before he took a total tumble. Edwards insisted he would not flip if he wins the Sprint Cup race today.
SPARTA, Ky. ó Ron Hornaday picked up his 50th victory in the Trucks Series with a Saturday night win at Kentucky Speedway.
Hornaday held off Austin Dillon.