By AMANDA VINCENT
Carl Edwards claimed his second-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole on Friday, with a 127.997 mph/14.991-second lap in the third and final round of qualifying at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Food City 500 at the track. It was his third-career Bristol pole.
“Just awesome. What Comcast Business does is they find solutions for complex problems, and this place is really complicated and my guys did a really good job making the car drive well on all different segments,” Edwrds said. “When you’re driving in the corner and these things take off and slide, and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and everybody did a really great job. It’s really cool to get this pole.”
Edwards will share the front row of the starting grid on Sunday with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth. All four JGR drivers, also including Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, qualified in the top-five, with Hamlin taking fourth and Busch fifth.
“We just had an awesome year, and it’s a true team effort,” Edwards said. “As I’ve spent more time at JGR, I’ve just learned that, from the top to the bottom, it’s just a real team. It’s fun to be a part of it, and we’re having a good timme. Hopefully, we can turn this into a win. We have that first pit stall, again; my guys will be excited about that, and we’ll just go get ‘em.”
The one non-JGR driver to qualify in the top-five was Joey Logano, who qualified third.
Joe Gibbs Racing dominated throughout the qualifying session, with Busch leading the way in round two with a 15.078-second/127.258 mph lap. Edwards and Kenseth also joined their teammate in the top-five on the speed chart in round two. Logano was joined by Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in the top-five in the second round.
Logano was the only non-Gibbs driver to lead a round of qualifying, posting the fastest lap of record in the opening round, a lap of 14.943 seconds/128.408 mph. In round one, all four JGR drivers followed Logano to make up the rest of the top-five.
Also in the first round, Ty Dillon, in a substitute role for the injured Tony Stewart, spun and made contact with Landon Cassill. Both drivers posted lap times, though, but neither advanced beyond round one.
Here’s the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Food City 500:
Row 1 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 2 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 3 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 5 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 6 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 7 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 10 — Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 12 — Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford), David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 13 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)
Row 15 — Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 16 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 17 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Ty Dillon (No. 14 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 32 Ford), Reed Sorenson (No. 55 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Cole Whitt (No. 98 Chevrolet), Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet)
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