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Stenhouse wins pole at Atlanta

Sprint Cup
Friday, August 30, 2013

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Ricky Stenhouse
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Poised to make his 30th start in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finally has his name in the record book.

Taking full advantage of a late draw, and running the bottom of the track where he had practiced, Stenhouse blitzed Friday’s time trials at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a pole-winning speed of 189.688 mph.

Navigating the 1.54-mile intermediate track in 29.227 seconds, Stenhouse knocked Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards (189.021 mph) off the provisional pole for Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the 25th Cup race of the season and the next to last before the Chase field is set.

Juan Pablo Montoya qualified third at 188.539 mph, followed by Denny Hamlin (188.533 mph) and Jeff Gordon (188.053).

The Coors Light pole award was the first for Stenhouse, who has yet to record a top 10 in a Sprint Cup race. It was also something of a surprise for the driver of the No. 17 Ford, who was 23rd fastest in Friday’s practice and picked up more than four miles per hour over his fastest practice time.

"It’s finally good to get something accomplished this year," said Stenhouse, who is battling girlfriend Danica Patrick for rookie-of-the-year honors in the Cup series. "We have not gotten much accomplished of what we thought we should of the goals that we were setting out to get.

"I felt really good about our race car. We ran a lap at the end of practice on new tires, and looking at the guys that also made runs right there at the end (of practice), we stacked up right there with them… The draw was a huge benefit to us, and it’s good to finally get something accomplished. It was a lot of fun today, and hopefully we can run strong in the race."

Edwards was the 31st driver to make a qualifying attempt, and the driver of the No. 99 Ford ran the top of the track on his money lap, convinced that was the fastest way around. But Stenhouse, on the advice of team owner Jack Roush, stayed on the bottom lane, and that line paid off handsomely.

"I ran the top, and I thought the top was the deal--that was it," Edwards said. "And Jack said (to Stenhouse) to run the bottom. They joked around on TV and asked me what I thought, and I said, ‘He should run the bottom.’ I thought there’s no way he’ll beat us if he runs the bottom.

"And there he did it… I give Ricky a lot of credit for not changing his line after seeing how fast we were on top. That’s really tough to stick to your guns and stick to what you know. He did a great job."

Of the drivers fighting for the final spots in the Chase, Jeff Gordon qualified fifth, Martin Truex Jr. sixth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. eighth, Joey Logano 11th, Ryan Newman 17th, Kasey Kahne 18th, Brad Keselowski 23rd, Greg Biffle 24th and Kurt Busch 32nd.

Results

Pos Driver No. Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford Best Buy 189.688 29.227 Leader
2 Carl Edwards 99 Ford Subway 189.021 29.330 --0.103
3 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 188.539 29.405 --0.178
4 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota Sport Clips 188.533 29.406 --0.179
5 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 188.053 29.481 --0.254
6 Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota The Home Depot / Husky 187.983 29.492 --0.265
7 Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 187.939 29.499 --0.272
8 Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet National Guard 'Race to Achieve' 187.519 29.565 --0.338
9 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota M&M's 187.487 29.570 --0.343
10 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe's Dover White 187.475 29.572 --0.345
11 Joey Logano 22 Ford Shell-Pennzoil 187.424 29.580 --0.353
12 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota TBA 187.196 29.616 --0.389
13 AJ Allmendinger 47 Toyota Scott Products 187.007 29.646 --0.419
14 David Ragan 34 Ford Racetrac Hot Boiled Peanuts By Peanut Patch 186.931 29.658 --0.431
15 Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet Bad Boy Buggies 186.736 29.689 --0.462
16 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Menards / Moen 186.673 29.699 --0.472
17 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet Aspen Dental 186.579 29.714 --0.487
18 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 186.547 29.719 --0.492
19 Casey Mears 13 Ford GEICO 186.472 29.731 --0.504
20 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford DeWalt 186.290 29.760 --0.533
21 Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 186.109 29.789 --0.562
22 Brian Vickers 55 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 185.859 29.829 --0.602
23 Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 185.722 29.851 --0.624
24 Greg Biffle 16 Ford 3M 185.592 29.872 --0.645
25 David Stremme 30 Toyota Widow Wax-Lean1 185.399 29.903 --0.676
26 Austin Dillon 33 Chevrolet AdvoCare 185.331 29.914 --0.687
27 Mark Martin 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 185.238 29.929 --0.702
28 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Caterpillar 185.065 29.957 --0.730
29 Aric Almirola 43 Ford Smithfield 184.886 29.986 --0.759
30 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Jimmy John's 184.732 30.011 --0.784
31 David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver's 184.523 30.045 --0.818
32 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row-Beautyrest 184.499 30.049 --0.822
33 Josh Wise 35 Ford MDS Systems 184.358 30.072 --0.845
34 David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 183.728 30.175 --0.948
35 Scott Speed 95 Ford Leavine Family Racing 182.747 30.337 --1.110
36 Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet Sany 182.416 30.392 --1.165
37 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 182.213 30.426 --1.199
38 Mike Bliss 51 Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 181.932 30.473 --1.246
39 Landon Cassill 40 Chevrolet Hillman Racing 181.473 30.550 --1.323
40 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota TBA 181.218 30.593 --1.366
41 Timmy Hill 32 Ford U.S. Chrome 179.633 30.863 --1.636
42 J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet United Mining Equipment 178.873 30.994 --1.767
43 Michael McDowell 98 Ford Phil Parsons Racing - - Leader

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