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RFK Racing driver Buescher stuns with pole at Dover

Dover, Dale. ( Associated Press) — Chris Bucher was the surprise pole winner at Dover Motor Speedway on Saturday, hitting 160.149 mph to take his first career top spot.

The RFK Racing driver, who will be joined on the front line by Denny Hamlin, was ordered to begin sensitivity training this week after NASCAR posted an anti-Asian meme.

“Very good of RFK for getting our first pole,” Buescher said. “It’s a great start for us.”

Buescher also earned the first pole for RFK Racing in the No. 17 Ford. Brad Kiselowski left Team Penske in November for an ownership stake in Jack Rausch’s organization, leading to a new partnership. Keselowski and Buscher got off to a strong start for RFK Racing by winning the 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway in February.

It’s been a rough ride in the last two months.

Kiselowski was rocked last month with a crushing penalty for illegal modifications made to his Ford and Busher has not finished better than 15th in any of his last four races. Bushehr has only one career win in 232 Career Cup starts.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Busher said. “We are building slowly and steadily through the season. This is not a race. We have a lot of laps left to go. But heck of a start.”

Kyle Larsson and Chase Elliott are third and fourth at Chevrolet for Hendricks Motorsports. Ryan Blaney rounds out the top five for Sunday’s race at the Mile Concrete Track.

Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, closed out a messy week and started another in the No. 11 Toyota, topping 159.744 mph. Hamlin posted an anti-Asian meme from the television comedy “Family Guy”, criticizing Kyle Larson’s driving on the last lap at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend.

Hamlin deleted the tweet on Monday night and apologized.

“I think if you look at my performances historically for distractions, it’s related to a pretty good weekend,” Hamlin said. “I’d probably bet on us if I were you.”

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