Carl Edwards has succeeded in taking pole position for both 2015 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Carl Edwards is on pace for a perfect weekend, leading the way in Friday practice and taking pole position in Sprint Cup qualifying - his third pole of the season and 16th of his career.
After a back-and-forth battle between Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, Edwards threw down a lap neither could touch. One lap later, he bettered himself, posting a lap of 27.604 seconds.
"It's really amazing how this JGR group is working together," he told NBC after the pole lap.
"The car was super fast in practice,” Edwards said. My car was easy to drive, that’s what put us up there."
Harvick in need of a win
Kevin Harvick will line up alongside and admits that he left something on the table, coming just three hundredths short of pole.
"I left it down in one and two down there, I just wasn’t too aggressive." Harvick is in need a victory this weekend after crashing out of the first Chase race at Chicagoland, putting him 22 points behind the cut line.
He dodged questions all week regarding the post-race altercation he had with Jimmie Johnson, and would only say in the post-qualifying press conference that he "doesn't have much to say about it." He added that he doesn't need the media to make threats, stating that he can do that himself.
In the first round, nearly 2/3rds of the field sat stationary on pit road for the first five minutes, watching others go out and tackle the Magic Mile with A.J. Allmendinger being first among them.
Clint Bowyer, now last in the Chase standings after a post-Chicago penalty, was one of those who waited. Once on the circuit, he struggled to put together a solid lap. Towards the end of the session, he was the man on the bubble and was eventually bumped by Jamie McMurray - the only driver who failed to transfer.
"We''ll work on this thing tomorrow, get it ready for the race," the No. 15 team radioed to Bowyer.
Kyle Busch was moved to the hit seat as the minutes turned to seconds, but was able to keep his head above water by a single hundredth over Greg Biffle, who had his final run impeded by slower traffic.
“That was the right call there,” Busch said of going out for another run.
His elder brother Kurt Busch was fastest in Round 1, edging out Kyle Larson.
“That felt really good,” Larson said. “The first lap was a 28.20,” Chris Heroy replied. "You almost did it, pal.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 19th on the speed charts, commended his team for its effort on Friday, acknowledging “It’s what we’ve been lacking here for a long time…the aggression we had here today is something we have to keep in mind."
The second round of qualifying saw multiple Chase drivers struggling to make the top twelve. Jimmie Johnson set the fastest time and was cautioned by crew chief Chad Knaus to be "nice and easy on those tires."
The final moments were hectic around the final transfer spot. A handful of drivers waited until the very end of the session to set a time, leaving some teams scrambling to get back up above the cut line. When the smoke cleared, five Chasers were left on the outside looking in.
"If I drive it in any harder, it's loose. Just no speed - I don't know," said Kyle Busch, who qualified 17th. His teammate Matt Kenseth "Our balance was okay. I thought I got everything I could out of it, just not enough speed," the driver of the No. 20 told NBC.
Paul Menard 20th, Martin Truex Jr. 21st and Jamie McMurray 23rd were the other three Chasers knocked out in this round.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the final driver to make it through and his lap of 27.812 seconds was just a single thousandth clear of Kenseth.
“I got real loose into 1, went over that seam and (messed) up my lap,” Dale Jr. said. “I think that right front air hurt me in the middle.”
“I think we’ve got something,” Carl Edwards told crew chief Darian Grubb ahead of the final round ... He wasn't kidding.
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