For the second week in a row and the 18th time in his career Carl, Edwards will lead the field to the green Sunday. Edwards put down a lap of 14.991, 127.997 miles per hour near the halfway point of the third and final five minute round of qualifying Friday to grab the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“That’s pretty cool to run a less than 15-second lap,” Edwards who has three wins here, the last in March of 2014, said. “It’s a real testament to my guys and everybody on this team has been working so hard. You see it each week the JGR Toyotas are up front and these cars are really nice to drive. Dave Rogers (crew chief) and everybody did a really nice job.”
“You would think it would be simple since it’s so small,” he added. “But getting the cars into the banking and everything changes and you have to manage it from a setup perspective and my guys did a great job with that.”
Edwards led another strong showing for the Joe Gibbs Racing team as the four JGR cars occupy the top five starting spots. Matt Kenseth, Edwards’ teammate and defending race winner will start beside Edwards on the front row in second, fellow JGR drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch will start fourth and fifth respectively with Penske Racing’s Joey Logano breaking up the part with a third place effort.
“Obviously, all of the JGR cars were fast again so thanks to everyone who’s building these things and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) with the engines,” Kenseth said. “In the first round we were pretty good we thought and then the second round we tried something and we were too tight and then the third round we were a little too loose really. We were just that much off, but overall it was a great day and we’ll still get a good pit stop and a good place to start and hopefully we’ll get it driving good tomorrow and we can race them on Sunday.”
Jimmie Johnson moved to the final round and will roll off sixth Sunday. Kevin Harvick will start seventh followed by Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger, and Trevor Bayne in tenth.
Logano led the opening three rounds of qualifying, while Kyle Busch topped the charts in the second round. Ty Dillon, filling in for injured Tony Stewart this weekend, had a bit of an issue during the first round clipping the bottom banking and spinning exiting turn 2. He slid sideways along the track and the side of his Chevy made contact with the rear of the Ford being driven by Landon Cassill. Both sustained slight damage but after a brief red flag were able to complete the round. Dillon will roll off the grid 34th, while Cassill qualified 28th. With 40 cars entered all will race on Sunday. The full qualifying results can be found here. The full lineup for Sunday’s (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), NASCAR Sprint Cup series Food City 500 can be found here.