Carl Edwards got around Texas Motor Speedway in 27.535 seconds on Friday during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying to claim the pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at the track. It’s his second pole of the season and the 13th of his career.
“This is huge,” Edwards said. “My guys did a great job. We had a test here, and the guys spent six days here with three days being rained out and we came back the next week, and this is just cool. This is so awesome. That was (crew chief) Jimmy Fennig and all the guys at the shop and the engine department. My guys worked so hard here on the test. I think we were the last people to leave the race track that test, and the guys worked really hard and it paid off today.”
Edwards will be joined by Brad Keselowski on the front row to start Sunday’s race after Keselowski turned in the second-fastest qualifying lap time of 27.537 seconds, just 0.002 seconds slower that the Edwards’ pole-winning lap. The Edwards/Keselowski combination up front gives Ford a sweep of the front row.
“We had a really decent lap, for sure, going, but I thought I left a little bit out there,” Keselowski said. “We will have a great starting spot for here, which is so important. Track position is important for the pit stalls. You want to have a good pit stall here, because that can be the whole race for you. I know we are starting up front, but I also know we left a little out there, so I am a little disappointed in myself.”
Meanwhile, Chevrolet swept the second row, as Jimmie Johnson and Paul Menard will start right behind Edwards and Keselowski, with Johnson in third and Menard fourth. Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Six Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers claimed top-10 starting spots. In addition to Edwards, Johnson and Busch, other Chasers who’ll be in the top-10 when the green flag waves on Sunday will be Matt Kenseth in sixth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in seventh and Jeff Gordon in eighth. The slowest of the 13 Chase competitors in Friday qualifying was Kurt Busch, who qualified 31st.
Other drivers qualifying in the top-10 include Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in ninth and Marcos Ambrose in 10th.
Forty-three drivers, the exact number needed for a full race field, made qualifying attempts, so all who attempted received spots on the starting grid.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR