Edwards scores first career pole in Fontana

Carl Edwards scored his first career Budweiser Pole Award at California Speedway. Edwards went out late in the pack and bumped teammate Mark Martin with a lap of 185.061 mph. "We still have to deal with two really tough races," said Edwards on...

Carl Edwards scored his first career Budweiser Pole Award at California Speedway. Edwards went out late in the pack and bumped teammate Mark Martin with a lap of 185.061 mph.

"We still have to deal with two really tough races," said Edwards on his possibility of making the chase. "In our position with our Office Depot team, I feel like we're so close to being in it or out of it that we're just gonna do our best. If we don't make it, we've got a million reasons why we shouldn't, but if we do it would be just awesome.

"It would mean the world to me."

Edwards has been supreme this season, earning wins at Pocono and Atlanta. He finished fifth at this race in February.

"I just didn't expect our year to go this well," mused Edwards. "I think I have been very fortunate to be driving these cars at the time I am driving them."

Martin went out second in time trials nailing down a lap of 184.833 mph. He sat on the pole until Edwards went out 35th and knocked him to the outside pole.

"I love my car," said Martin. "It was really good yesterday. We did all of our race setup last night. This is a place where we've been really strong at the last several times we have been here, so we came in here with a lot of optimism.

"It's going well."

The first four starting spots were swept by Roush drivers with Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle grabbing third and fourth. Biffle won the race here earlier this year.

"We'd love to sweep California," Biffle said. "I'd love to get back in Victory Lane; I don't care where it's at. We're not taking the same car we won with back to California. We're taking a better car, a car we've won a lot of races in and we feel like we're gonna be a threat to win at California again."

Jimmie Johnson completes the top five. Johnson sits second in overall points but has already mathematically clinched a spot in the chase.

"That ended up being a great lap," Johnson said. "It didn't fee as if it was going to be a top time, but we'll take it.so, all in all, I am excited. I don't know what to expect for the race really, but I know my Lowe's guys are going to work their butts off with great stops and great strategy and we'll be there when it counts."

Point leader Tony Stewart starts 14th and defending race winner Elliott Sadler, 15th. Stewart has already locked a place in the chase; but Sadler desperately needs a good finish to keep his hopes alive.

"I think our first priority is making the chase and then when we get in the chase anything can happen," Sadler said. "That's why I love the chase format - which anything can happen. You can be 10th in the points when it starts and easily win the championship, but right now we're just focused on two races - California and Richmond.

"We're carrying our best stuff, our best motors, and our best cars - everything we can possibly do to go to these two races. It's a wild-card race. There aren't but 70 or 80 points, I think, between eighth and 13th and I think that's really close comfort there, so we'll see what happens in the next two races."

Forty-five cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field, failing to make the field were PJ Jones and John Andretti.

Per NASCAR's rules this weekend the cars were impounded immediately after qualifying and are not allowed to be worked on before the start of the race Sunday night.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin