|Getty Images for NASCAR|
When Carl Edwards wins the pole at Bristol, good things happen — for Edwards.
So forgive the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing if he feels optimistic about Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season.
With the only sub-15-second lap in the money round of Friday's knockout qualifying at the 0.533-mile short track, Edwards won his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his third at Bristol and the 18th of his career.
In Edwards' two other pole-winning efforts at Bristol, he has finished first (2008) and second (2011).
"I didn't know that," said Edwards, who practiced in both race trim and qualifying trim in Friday's opening session and was pleased with the speed in his car in both configurations.
"As I've spent more time at JGR, I've just learned that, from the top to the bottom, it's just a real team. It's fun to be a part of it. and we're having a good time. Hopefully, we can turn this into a win. We have that first pit stall, my guys will be excited about that, and we'll just go get 'em."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Edwards, nicknamed "Concrete Carl" for his success on concrete racing surfaces, rocketed around "The World's Fastest Half-Mile" in 14.991 seconds (127.997 mph) to edge teammate Matt Kenseth (127.419 mph) for the top starting spot by .068 seconds.
"That's pretty cool to run a less than 15-second lap," Edwards 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. (Crew chief) Dave Rogers and everybody did a really nice job."
Ford driver Joey Logano (127.191 mph) qualified third to break up the Joe Gibbs Racing party in the top five. JGR teammates Denny Hamlin (126.804 mph) and Kyle Busch (126.553 mph) will start fourth and fifth, respectively.
Having suffered through a star-crossed early season that has produced but one top 10 in seven races, Kenseth hopes his second-place starting position will signal a change in his fortunes.
"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 stall and a good place to start, and hopefully we'll get it driving good tomorrow (in Saturday's practice) and we can race them on Sunday."
Jimmie Johnson had the fastest Chevrolet, qualifying sixth. Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger and Trevor Bayne completed the top 10 in time trials.
Note: On his first lap in the opening round, Ty Dillon hooked the cub off Turn 2 and spun the No. 14 Chevrolet he is driving in place of injured Tony Stewart. The car slid into the back of Landon Cassill's Ford, which was rolling on the apron after completing a qualifying run.
Both cars were damaged cosmetically, but neither team had to resort to a backup car. Cassill qualified 28th, Dillon 34th.
CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 Comcast Business Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 1st
What does this pole mean to you here at Bristol?
“Just awesome, what Comcast Business does is they find solutions for complex problems and this place is really complicated and my guys did a really good job making the car drive well on all different segments. When you’re driving in the corner and these things take off and slide and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and everybody did a really great job. It’s really cool to get this pole."
What has the recent strong runs meant to this team?
“We just had an awesome year and it’s a true team effort. As I’ve spent more time at JGR I’ve just learned that from the top to the bottom it’s just a real team. It’s fun to be a part of it and we’re having a good time. Hopefully we can turn this into a win. We have that first pit stall again, my guys will be excited about that and we’ll just go get ‘em.’
How did your fast lap of 14.991 seconds feel today?
“That’s pretty cool to run a less than 15-second lap. 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. I’ve got Comcast Business on board and I was just telling the guys that they manage solutions to complicated problems and this place is complicated. You would think it would be simple since it’s so small, 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."
Were you worried watching your teammates make their final laps that they could knock you off the pole?
“The trick is not to watch. I was half paying attention, but I don’t really want to know until after it’s over. It means so much to get a pole, especially at a place like this and competing against these guys – if you look up and down this line, these are the best racers in the world so there’s a lot of pride doing well here at Bristol."
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 2nd
How was the car in qualifying and are you pleased with the second-place starting position?
“We were just a little off. These guys did a great job with our Dollar General Camry today. 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. 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."
|1||19||Carl Edwards||Toyota||COMCAST BUSINESS||127.997||14.991||Leader|
|2||20||Matt Kenseth||Toyota||Dollar General||127.419||15.059||0.068|
|4||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Freight||126.804||15.132||0.141|
|8||78||Martin Truex Jr||Toyota||Furniture Row||126.021||15.226||0.235|
|9||47||AJ Allmendinger||Chevrolet||Bush's Beans||125.815||15.251||0.26|
|10||6||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Advocare Ford Fusion||125.815||15.251||0.26|
|11||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Great Clips||125.732||15.261||0.27|
|12||2||Brad Keselowski||Ford||Miller Lite||125.691||15.266||0.275|
|14||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Tarkett / Menards||125.461||15.294||0.303|
|15||3||Austin Dillon||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Ranger Boats||125.436||15.297||0.306|
|18||21||Ryan Blaney||Ford||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center||125.33||15.31||0.319|
|19||24||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet||Kelley Blue Book||125.134||15.334||0.343|
|20||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Chevrolet||Nationwide||125.052||15.344||0.353|
|21||34||Chris Buescher||Ford||Love’s Travel Stops||124.995||15.351||0.36|
|23||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||Roush Performance Ford Fusion||124.597||15.4||0.409|
|24||23||David Ragan||Toyota||Dr. Pepper||124.46||15.417||0.426|
|26||41||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Haas Automation / Monster Energy||125.831||15.249||0.258|
|27||44||Brian Scott||Ford||Shore Lodge||125.773||15.256||0.265|
|28||38||Landon Cassill||Ford||Snap Fitness||125.675||15.268||0.277|
|29||7||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||APC Chevrolet||125.642||15.272||0.281|
|30||83||Matt DiBenedetto||Toyota||Cosmo Motors||125.592||15.278||0.287|
|31||95||Michael McDowell||Chevrolet||KLove Radio Chevrolet SS||125.281||15.316||0.325|
|32||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Ford||Zest Ford Fusion||125.207||15.325||0.334|
|33||10||Danica Patrick||Chevrolet||Nature's Bakery||125.003||15.35||0.359|
|34||14||Ty Dillon||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats||124.379||15.427||0.436|
|35||30||Josh Wise||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||124.242||15.444||0.453|
|36||15||Clint Bowyer||Chevrolet||5-Hour Energy||124.146||15.456||0.465|
|37||32||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Ford||KEEN PARTS/VISONE RV||123.308||15.561||0.57|
|40||46||Michael Annett||Chevrolet||Pilot Flying J||122.263||15.694||0.703|