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Biffle squeezes Johnson off pole at Darlington

by Pete McCole
Saturday, May 12, 2012

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Greg Biffle
Sprint Cup Series points leader Greg Biffle saved the best for last and spoiled a Hendrick Motorsports-sweep of the front row with a late-session pole winning run in Friday’s qualifying to capture the top starting spot for Saturday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

Biffle took to the track as the second-to-last qualifier and clicked off a lap to knock Jimmie Johnson off the pole and knock Kasey Kahne to third to break up what would have been an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row, tallying his second pole of the season and 11th of his career.

Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five qualifiers.

Biffle’s pole-winning effort was the second of his career at Darlington, where he has two victories under his belt in 2005 and 2006.

“It was a great lap,” said Biffle. “I love this race track.  The fans down here are
great and I can’t wait for a great race tomorrow night. 

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect lap here.  I was in and out of the
gas down there in turn one and two, and in three and four I felt I drove it in as far as I could and the car stuck really good, so I thought maybe I didn’t get enough, but when I came by and they told me it was the front row, I was pretty happy.”

Johnson was looking to rebound from his disappointing DNF finish last weekend at Talladega, hoping to score his first Darlington victory since 2004.

“We’ve had a very productive day. We put up a good time off the truck,” said Johnson. “I knew that I left a little time on the table down there, and (pole winner) Greg (Biffle) certainly went down there and found it. I was watching. He had a blistering fast 3 and 4, and came back around and got us. I wish it was a Hendrick front row, but it was a solid day all in all.”

Martin Truex, Jr. will start sixth, followed by Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin. Defending race winner Regan Smith will roll off ninth ahead of Jeff Burton.

Scott Riggs, Michael McDowell, Stephen Leicht and Mike Bliss failed to make the field.

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / O'Reilly Auto Parts 180.257 27.281 Leader
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 179.566 27.386 -0.105
3 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 179.566 27.386 -0.105
4 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats 179.461 27.402 -0.121
5 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Wrigley's Doublemint 179.448 27.404 -0.123
6 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 179.317 27.424 -0.143
7 99 Carl Edwards Ford Ford EcoBoost 179.298 27.427 -0.146
8 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 179.187 27.444 -0.163
9 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 179.141 27.451 -0.170
10 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 179.095 27.458 -0.177
11 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 179.089 27.459 -0.178
12 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger / AARP 179.076 27.461 -0.180
13 43 Aric Almirola Ford Verifone Sail 178.991 27.474 -0.193
14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Turtle Wax / Menards 178.926 27.484 -0.203
15 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 178.822 27.500 -0.219
16 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil-AAA 178.783 27.506 -0.225
17 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 178.724 27.515 -0.234
18 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 178.491 27.551 -0.270
19 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy 178.226 27.592 -0.311
20 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 178.090 27.613 -0.332
21 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 177.980 27.630 -0.349
22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 177.974 27.631 -0.350
23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem 177.948 27.635 -0.354
24 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 177.903 27.642 -0.361
25 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 177.845 27.651 -0.370
26 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota Aaron's / Alabama National Champions 177.781 27.661 -0.380
27 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target / Kraft 177.307 27.735 -0.454
28 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 176.930 27.794 -0.513
29 179 Scott Speed Ford Team Kyle / Koma Unwind 176.879 27.802 -0.521
30 26 Josh Wise* Ford Morristown Driver's Service 176.746 27.823 -0.542
31 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 176.733 27.825 -0.544
32 30 David Stremme Toyota Stock Car Steel and Aluminum 176.606 27.845 -0.564
33 173 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 176.594 27.847 -0.566
34 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet SealWrap.com 176.530 27.857 -0.576
35 52 Mike Skinner Toyota CrusaderStaffing.com 175.899 27.957 -0.676
36 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 175.767 27.978 -0.697
37 34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports 175.604 28.004 -0.723
38 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 175.497 28.021 -0.740
39 74 Cole Whitt Chevrolet Turn One Racing 175.497 28.021 -0.740
40 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 175.022 28.097 -0.816
41 93 David Reutimann+ Toyota Tommy Baldwin Racing 174.408 28.196 -0.915
42 32 Reed Sorenson+ Ford Southern Pride Trucking 173.724 28.307 -1.026
43 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents 174.848 28.125 -0.844
- - Did Not Qualify - - - - -
44 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 174.823 28.129 -0.848
45 98 Michael McDowell Ford Curb Records 174.730 28.144 -0.863
46 33 Stephen Leicht Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com / Link-Belt 174.662 28.155 -0.874
47 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 174.649 28.157 -0.876

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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