Earnhardt, who needs a strong finish Sunday to bolster his title hopes, turned a lap of 161.849 mph in his No. 88 Chevrolet at Dover
The popular Earnhardt enters the race 11th in the 13-driver Chase, 62 points behind Kenseth. A driver can earn up to 48 points in a single race.
Qualifying results for some other Chase contenders included Kurt Busch in ninth,