Edwards takes Nationwide Series pole at Fontana

Edwards takes Nationwide Series pole at Fontana

By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR reporter

Story Highlights

  • Edwards' third Fontana pole
  • Harvick takes second
  • Almirola third fastest

Edwards takes his third Nationwide Series pole at Fontana

"I think this No. 60 Ford Mustang is going to be fast," Carl Edwards predicted prior to making a qualifying run for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday.

Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Edwards' prediction was right on the money, as he turned a lap at an average speed of 174.838 mph to claim the pole starting spot for Saturday afternoon's race, his third Nationwide Series pole at the track.

Edwards made his qualifying run several cars prior to two of the biggest threats for the pole, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.

"I didn't realize the No. 33 (Harvick) and 20 (Logano) hadn't gone out yet," Edwards said of his premature excitement upon getting the provisional pole.

Once Harvick and Logano did make their qualifying laps, though, Edwards still found himself in the top spot. Harvick posted the second-fastest lap with a time of 174.634 mph to claim a spot right alongside Edwards in the front row. Logano will start Saturday's race fourth after posting a qualifying speed of 174.343. Starting beside Logano on the second row will be Aric Almirola,a who posted the third-fastest time, 174.402 mph.

Early in the qualifying session, several cars held and then gave up the provisional pole as faster cars and then increasingly faster cars made qualifying runs. Among the provisional pole sitters throughout the qualifying session included Josh Wise, who will make his first start of the season from behind the wheel of the JR Motorsports No. 7 car after taking over the ride for the departing Danica Patrick.

"The car drove awesome," Wise said after getting out of the car after running a lap at 173.896 mph.

I think this No. 60 Ford Mustang is going to be fast.

Carl Edwards

Brad Keselowski, whose No. 22 team seemed to have difficulty getting the handling right on the car during practice on Friday, looked to have a better car by the time qualifying rolled around, as he knocked Wise off the provisional pole with a lap speed of 174.225 mph.

"We improved from where we were yesterday," Keselowski said after making his qualifying attempt.

By the end of the qualifying session, Keselowski and Wise were shuffled to the third row of the starting grid, with Keselowski in the fifth spot and Wise in the sixth position.

With only 43 cars making qualifying attempts, all drivers who attempted to qualify will race in Saturday's Royal Purple 300 -- a fact that made Jennifer Jo Cobb breathe a little easier.

"I'm probably going to have the slowest qualifying run of my life," Cobb predicted before going out, saying that she and her Rick Ware Racing team had a hard time getting the car dialed in during practice on Friday and her deal to race for RWR this weekend came together at the last minute.

Cobb wasn't the slowest of qualifiers, though, as her time of 157.947 mph was fast enough to beat three other drivers to put her in the 40th starting position. The three slower cars belonged to Robert Richardson Jr., Dennis Setzer and Joe Nemechek, who will start 41st, 42nd and 43rd, respectively.

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Series NASCAR-NS
Tags edwards, mustang, nascar, nationwide, roush racing