Greg Biffle got his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford around Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.324 seconds during qualifying on Friday to claim the pole starting spot for the Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to be held at the track on Sunday.
"I've got to pinch myself," series points leader Biffle said of the start to his 2012 season and his first Bristol pole start. I think I'm dreaming."
I just told myself to not make a mistake, and I wasn't going to lift,
A.J. Allmendinger will start next to Biffle on the front row Sunday after posting a 15.325-second qualifying lap in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge. Biffle and Allmendinger will be followed under the green flag to start the race by an all-Chevrolet second row. Ryan Newman claimed the third spot on the starting grid with a 15.331-second qualifying lap in the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, with Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet alongside in fourth after a Gordon qualifying lap of 15.340 seconds.
Allmendinger's Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski held the provisional pole for a while after making a 15.367-second lap in the No. 2 Dodge until he was knocked from the top spot by Biffle's fast lap. By the end of the qualifying session, Keselowski was shuffled down to the fifth starting spot.
"We unloaded great in race trim but not so great in qualifying trim," Keselowski said of the reason his team had to make significant changes to his No. 2 Dodge prior to qualifying.
Although qualifying order was based on practice speeds, from slowest to fastest, Biffle was able to maintain his spot atop the scoring pylon as 10 more drivers made qualifying runs after him.
"I just told myself to not make a mistake, and I wasn't going to lift," Biffle said of his qualifying run."
After making his run, the soon-to-be polesitter didn't think weather would be on his side. He commented on the clouds that moved over the track after his qualifying laps, giving drivers going out after him extra grip.
"I think it's fixing to speed up a little bit," Biffle said after climbing out of his car.
Even so, only two of the remaining 10 drivers, Gordon and Newman, were able to grab top five starting spots.
Forty-four cars made qualifying attempts, so only one driver was left without a starting spot for Sunday's race. The No. 37 Rick Ware Racing Ford of Timmy Hill failed to make the race.