NASCAR Cup: Carl Edwards on pole at Watkins Glen
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
By AMANDA VINCENT
Carl Edwards’ 69.689-second/126.562 mph lap with about a minute remaining in the second of two rounds of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Saturday was good enough give the Joe Gibbs Racing driver the pole for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355. It’s Edwards’ second-career pole at The Glen and his fourth of the season.
“You know, the track is a little strange,” Edwards said. “It started out really slippery the first run. But just really proud of my guys and everybody on this Stanley Toyota team. Dave Wilson from TRD (Toyota Racing Development) just came down. They’re a huge part of this.”
Kyle Larson was on the provisional pole before Edwards’ late attempt. When Edwards knocked Larson from atop the scoring pylon, Larson already was back on the track to improve his time. The late second attempt of the round was futile, though, as he remained second to Edwards.
“It’s good to start on the front row,” Larson said. “Everybody on our Target team worked extremely hard yesterday. I had them slinging wrenches and everything to try and fix our car.We got it better, there, late in practice and it paid off, here, for qualifying.”
Although Larson was second in round two to claim a front-row starting spot, he was one of the culprits of a red flag that interrupted the first round of qualifying. Paul Menard spun and Larson slid in the grass in the first round, resulting in a red flag to allow track officials the opportunity to clean grass and mud from the racing surface.
“I messed up so many corners,” Larson said. “I should have just bailed, but I tried to make it good in (turns) six and seven and just got into the last corner pretty hard, there, and got loose. I was hoping I wasn’t going to hit those barrels, but I was able to keep it going straight and keep it fired-up.”
Tony Stewart qualified third and will share the second row with one of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Matt Kenseth. The other two JGR drivers, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin qualified fifth and sixth to share row three on the starting grid and give JGR four positions inside the top-six at Sunday’s green flag.
“My teammates — they’re really fast,” Edwards said.
Joey Logano’s 69.880-second/126.216 mph lap was the fastest of round one, but Logano wound up seventh in the second round, and therefore, will start seventh Sunday. Edwards was second to Logano in round one.
“We missed it in (turn) two and the bust stop,” Logano said. “Our car just didn’t do what I expected, and then, I made a mistake because of it. I don’t know that it was necessarily the green race track as much as it was just understanding road course qualifying a little better with this tire. The tire threw us for the biggest loop. We were expecting something different.”
Here is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen:
Row 1 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 3 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 4 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 7 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 8 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet), Cole Whitt (No. 98 Toyota)
Row 12 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 13 — Chris Buescher (No. 34 Chevrolet), David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 14 — Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford), Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 16 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 17 — Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 18 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota), Alex Kennedy (No. 55 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Boris Said (No. 32 Ford), Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)