By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR reporter
Stenhouse completes Roush Fenway Racing pole sweep
After Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle claimed both front row starting positions for Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for Roush Fenway Racing on Friday afternoon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. claimed another pole for RFW on Saturday morning by taking the top spot for Saturday’s Scotts EZ Seed 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race during pole qualifying at the track for that series.
Temporarily during the Nationwide Series qualifying session, Roush Fenway cars occupied the top-two positions, but Stenhouse Jr. wasn’t a part of that possible two-car front row. Instead, it was Edwards and Trevor Bayne. Those two drivers were eventually separated by Elliott Sadler, who worked his way in between them, and Bayne was then knocked from the top spot by Jason Leffler.
At the end of the session, Bayne was fourth and Edwards seventh to start the race.
Stenhouse Jr. took the pole spot back for Roush Fenway Racing and held on to the lead position the rest of the way through qualifying to start Saturday afternoon’s race from the top spot. He had to wait around for several “heavy hitters,” as he called them, who went out late before he could assume that he would be in the pole position at the end of qualifying. Those “heavy hitters” included the likes of Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kevin Harvick.
During a break in qualifying action to clean up a wreck by Chris Lawson, Stenhouse Jr. said that he was hoping that the sun would stay out as the remaining cars made their qualifying runs to slow the track down. Stenhouse Jr.’s hopes were answered, and Harvick wound up in the eighth starting spot and Logano was 10th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start right outside the top-10 in the 11th spot.
Leffler claimed second to start alongside Stenhouse Jr. on the front row. Justin Allgaier was third and will start next to Stenhouse Jr.’s teammate, Bayne, in the second row. Kyle Busch and Sadler make up the third row.
I think we’ve got a really good short-short track program.
According to Leffler, qualifying is especially important at a track like Bristol, and starting near the front is imperative.
“It’s really easy to get lapped on a track this small and fast,” he said. “I think as long as we qualify up front and stay out of trouble we have a really good chance to get the win.”
Despite wrecking during his qualifying run, Lawson made his way into the starting lineup for Saturday’s race. Prior to his accident, he posted a time good enough for the 43rd and final starting spot, but was bumped from when Blake Koch made the field on car owner points.