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Edwards sends message with Homestead pole

NASCAR Sprint Cup finale
Sunday, November 20, 2011

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Carl Edwards climbs from pole after winning pole
Getty Images for NASCAR
With a lap at 175.467 mph, Sprint Cup Series points leader Carl Edwards sent a message to rival Tony Stewart, one day before the two drivers will decide the series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In Saturday's tension-filled qualifying session at the 1.5-mile track, Edwards won his third Coors Light pole award of the season and the 10th of his career. He'll start 14 positions ahead of Stewart, who trails Edwards by three points entering the season finale.

"Awesome, guys, that is the way to come and perform!" Edwards radioed to his crew after his qualifying laps. "Good work today."

Second fastest in Saturday's first practice session and quickest in the one that followed, Edwards was the next-to-last driver to qualify Saturday.

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"This is going really well so far, and hopefully this helps us all race," Edwards said. "We didn't need to qualify poorly here, [get] a poor pit stall, have some little thorn in our side the whole race. So hopefully this helps us through the whole event."

Martin Truex Jr. (174.808 mph) will start second in Sunday's race, followed by Kasey Kahne (174.582 mph), last week's winner at Phoenix.

The 34th of 48 drivers to make a qualifying attempt, Stewart was fifth fastest with 14 cars left.

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"Good job, buddy," he radioed to crew chief Darian Grubb after completing his lap.

Predictably, though, Stewart began to slide down the grid as qualifying progressed.

"We didn't have a pole-winning car today, but our No. 14 Chevrolet is pretty good in race trim," said Stewart, who ran 52 laps in Saturday's second practice session, focusing on race runs.

Stewart, who was 28th-fastest on his best lap in the second practice, said Saturday's speed chart won't be an accurate predictor of what will happen in Sunday's race. Neither will the respective qualifying position.

"I've won 13 poles in 13 years, and I've won [43] races now, proving that you don't have to do it from the pole, for sure," Stewart said. "It's definitely a luxury for him at this point, but don't start etching his name on the trophy yet."

After concentrating on race runs in Saturday's first practice, Edwards ran only three laps in the second session, all in qualifying trim.

"We ran the first practice completely in race trim, and we felt that was the best strategy for us," Edwards said. "We actually had a cut in the right rear tire after the first run in the second practice. So we had two sets of sticker [new] tires, which we would normally run three or four runs total -- a couple on the first set and one final sticker run -- but once we looked at that tire, we realized we couldn't use it again.

"In a way, it probably helped us from tuning the [car] out of contention."

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 175.467 30.775 Leader
2 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 174.808 30.891 -0.116
3 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 174.582 30.931 -0.156
4 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 174.520 30.942 -0.167
5 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 174.492 30.947 -0.172
6 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 174.475 30.950 -0.175
7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 174.436 30.957 -0.182
8 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M Novec 174.109 31.015 -0.240
9 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 174.098 31.017 -0.242
10 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 173.969 31.040 -0.265
11 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 173.907 31.051 -0.276
12 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 173.734 31.082 -0.307
13 6 David Ragan Ford UPS My Choice 173.678 31.092 -0.317
14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 173.371 31.147 -0.372
15 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 173.333 31.154 -0.379
16 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 173.321 31.156 -0.381
17 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 173.277 31.164 -0.389
18 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 173.271 31.165 -0.390
19 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 173.249 31.169 -0.394
20 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 173.160 31.185 -0.410
21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 173.155 31.186 -0.411
22 51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 173.094 31.197 -0.422
23 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Duracell / Menards 173.083 31.199 -0.424
24 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 172.966 31.220 -0.445
25 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 172.889 31.234 -0.459
26 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 172.701 31.268 -0.493
27 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 172.656 31.276 -0.501
28 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 172.425 31.318 -0.543
29 84 Cole Whitt Toyota Kangaroo Express 172.392 31.324 -0.549
30 55 J.J. Yeley Ford Ingersoll Rand 171.991 31.397 -0.622
31 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 171.821 31.428 -0.653
32 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 171.685 31.453 -0.678
33 66 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 171.059 31.568 -0.793
34 135 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Big Red 171.027 31.574 -0.799
35 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Reese Towpower 170.881 31.601 -0.826
36 30 David Stremme Chevrolet Inception Motorsports 170.881 31.601 -0.826
37 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 170.578 31.657 -0.882
38 34 David Gilliland Ford Front Row Motorsports 170.143 31.738 -0.963
39 13 Casey Mears Toyota Hard Rock Vodka 169.929 31.778 -1.003
40 38 Travis Kvapil+ Ford Long John Silver's 169.178 31.919 -1.144
41 32 T.J. Bell+* Ford Green Smoke 167.707 32.199 -1.424
42 36 Geoffrey Bodine+ Chevrolet Luke & Associates 162.842 33.161 -2.386
43 71 Mike Bliss Ford School Media 169.940 31.776 -1.001
- - Did Not Qualify - - - - -
44 46 Scott Speed Ford Green Stuff Absorbent 169.529 31.853 -1.078
45 7 Reed Sorenson Dodge Speed Energy / Mapei 169.359 31.885 -1.110
46 37 Mike Skinner Ford Koma Unwind 168.587 32.031 -1.256
47 192 Scott Riggs Chevrolet BBI Waste Industries / Melling Engine Parts 167.775 32.186 -1.411
48 193 Grant Enfinger Chevrolet Hewes Concrete Polishing 165.807 32.568 -1.793

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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