Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards now has 13 Sprint Cup career poles.
Carl Edwards pulled off an impressive qualifying run at the Texas Motor Speedway Friday afternoon to claim the pole position for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, the eighth Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event of the season. The Sprint Cup front runner hauled the Aflac Ford around the fast 1.5-mile oval at a near-record speed of 196.114 miles per hour.
For Edwards, he earned his second pole of the season and the 13th of his Sprint Cup career. Today’s pole was his first in 18 attempts at TMS.
Claiming the outside pole slot was Brad Keselowski, who looked to have the pole slot locked up until the late run by Edwards. Keselowski’s speed was 196.100 mph and he lost out to Edwards by a mere 7 inches.
Keselowski drove the Miller Lite Ford, giving Ford ownership of the front row.
Said Edwards, “This is all about the guys. We came here to test and the guys sat here for days in the rain, and we came back a few days later and tested for three days. We were the last team to leave here. My guys put in a lot of hard work. My lap wasn’t that spectacular from the driving standpoint. I messed up a little bit off turn 2 but turns 3 and 4 were great, and we got the pole. It is so neat to get a pole, and all the guys get to celebrate.”
Championship contender Jimmie Johnson scraped the wall during his run but managed to earn the third fastest speed, 195.943 mph.
Said Johnson, “I was committed coming off turn four and I may have had my eyes shut, as I knew there was going to be contact but I just grazed the wall. Even though it was exciting off turn four, I am really proud of that lap. Even though we went out early, it showed that our car has a lot of speed.”
Johnson expects that he and Kenseth will contend throughout the upcoming race as the two cars are close in speed and reliability.
Paul Menard timed fourth fastest at 195.837 mph.
Kyle Busch and Johnson’s nemesis Matt Kenseth were next in line followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
Kevin Harvick, fourth in points, qualified 19th. Kurt Busch was the slowest driver from the Chase field, coming in 31st.
The AAA Texas 500 will be telecast live on Sunday by ESPN at 3 p.m. ET.