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Edwards puts Ford on pole in Phoenix

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Saturday, February 26, 2011

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Carl Edwards

The last time the Sprint Cup Series came to Phoenix International Raceway, Carl Edwards won from the pole.

After Saturday's Cup qualifying session at the 1-mile flat track, Edwards has a leg up on a second consecutive victory. With a lap at 137.279 mph, Edwards was the fastest of 26 drivers who broke the track record in time trials for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500.

Edwards won the Coors Light pole award for the eighth time in his career, edging Kurt Busch (137.112 mph) for the top starting spot. It was Busch who had established a track-record of 136.539 mph during Friday's first Cup practice session, but that mark was destined to fall early in Saturday's qualifying.

Kasey Kahne (137.096 mph) will start third in the second Cup race of the season. Kyle Busch (136.981 mph), who earlier in the day won the pole for Saturday's Nationwide Series race, will line up beside Kahne in the fourth starting spot.

Saturday's session used NASCAR's new qualifying format for the first time, with the qualifying order based on slowest-to-fastest speeds from Friday's practice sessions. The final three locked-in cars to qualify Saturday had outrun Edwards' No. 99 Ford in practice.

"It was a little stressful," Edwards said. "I had to watch Kyle [Busch] go, and I know how fast he was, and then Kurt [who was the last of the locked-in cars to qualify] was screaming fast [Friday], so he had me stressed out a little bit.

"It's fortunate we were able to sit on the pole. I love this race track. I know all the drivers love this race track. It's really fun to drive on, and starting up front is, hopefully, going to make the race a lot simpler."

Kurt Busch called narrowly missing the pole "a bummer," but the driver of the No. 22 Penske Dodge took consolation from his front-row starting position.

"We're happy with our run," Busch said. "I gave up a few thousandths of a second when the car wiggled a bit. Carl ran a great lap. This is a track-position race, and to start up front is a nice hurdle to get over."

Phoenix hasn't been a comfortable track for Kahne, to say the least. In 13 starts, he has but one top-five finish and three top-10s.

"We put a lot of work into it, and the first lap I made [Friday], I knew I had a car," Kahne said.

Regan Smith, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle will start from positions 5 through 10, respectively.

Brian Keselowski failed to qualify for the 43-car field.

Starting Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 137.279 26.224 Leader
2 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 137.111 26.256 -0.032
3 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 137.096 26.259 -0.035
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Combos 136.981 26.281 -0.057
5 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 136.971 26.283 -0.059
6 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 136.945 26.288 -0.064
7 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 136.809 26.314 -0.090
8 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 136.773 26.321 -0.097
9 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 136.768 26.322 -0.098
10 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 136.674 26.340 -0.116
11 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 136.643 26.346 -0.122
12 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 136.581 26.358 -0.134
13 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Vertis / Menards 136.560 26.362 -0.138
14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Tornados 136.457 26.382 -0.158
15 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Valvoline 136.405 26.392 -0.168
16 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 136.327 26.407 -0.183
17 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches 136.116 26.448 -0.224
18 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 136.060 26.459 -0.235
19 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 135.998 26.471 -0.247
20 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 135.772 26.515 -0.291
21 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Clorox 135.731 26.523 -0.299
22 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 135.701 26.529 -0.305
23 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 135.609 26.547 -0.323
24 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 135.578 26.553 -0.329
25 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 135.563 26.556 -0.332
26 00 David Reutimann Toyota Best Western 135.557 26.557 -0.333
27 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 135.527 26.563 -0.339
28 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 135.496 26.569 -0.345
29 34 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 135.471 26.574 -0.350
30 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 135.471 26.574 -0.350
31 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Speed Energy / Bashas' 135.232 26.621 -0.397
32 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 134.932 26.680 -0.456
33 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 134.756 26.715 -0.491
34 66 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 134.685 26.729 -0.505
35 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 134.675 26.731 -0.507
36 32 Mike Skinner Ford Cerwin-Vega Mobile / K1 Speed 134.273 26.811 -0.587
37 60 Landon Cassill Toyota Big Red 134.048 26.856 -0.632
38 46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet AAMCO Transmission / Ohsweken Speedway 134.043 26.857 -0.633
39 09 Bill Elliott Chevrolet Security Benefit / Rydex / Billboard.com 133.784 26.909 -0.685
40 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 133.393 26.988 -0.764
41 71 Andy Lally* Chevrolet Super Eco-Fuel Saver 131.926 27.288 -1.064
42 37 Tony Raines+ Ford Front Row Motorsports 131.661 27.343 -1.119
43 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Accell Construction 133.353 26.996 -0.772
. . Did Not Qualify . . . . .
44 192 Brian Keselowski* Dodge K-Automotive Motorsports 131.238 27.431 -1.207

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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