Fort Worth, Texas Dale Earnhardt Jr. is off to a great start in defense of his first Winston Cup victory.
The 26-year-old Earnhardt earned the third pole of his Winston Cup career and first of the season Friday, turning a lap of 190.676 mph at Texas Motor Speedway to take the top qualifying spot for Sunday's Harrah's 500.
Earnhardt, whose father died in a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500, won twice in the first half of the 2000 season. He won his first pole since last August in Michigan.
His lap was quick enough to relegate Bobby Labonte's Pontiac to the outside spot on the front row of the 43-car field with a speed of 190.463. They were followed by Dale Jarrett's Ford at 190.436 and the Chevys of Bobby Hamilton and Steve Park at 190.208 and 189.813.