Leader of the pack
Carl Edwards came to Texas Motor Speedway with more Sprint Cup victories here than any other driver. But until Friday, he had never been on the pole. He changed that with a qualifying lap of 196.114 mph around the 1 1/2-mile track in preparation for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500. Brad Keselowski will start with him on the front row. “It’s an awesome day for Ford, with Brad and me on the front,” Edwards said. “Ford should be really proud of this. They put a lot into it.” Edwards said a three-day testing session at TMS last week paid off. “We were the last people to leave the racetrack at the tire test,” he said. “I wanted to get the pole here so badly. It was really cool.” For Edwards, it was the 13th pole of his career and the second of the season. His best previous start at TMS was a second in April 2011, when he finished third, and a second in April 2008, when he won.
Johnson vs. Kenseth
They’ll start near each other, and near the top. The Chase co-leaders qualified third (Jimmy Johnson) and sixth (Matt Kenseth). For Johnson, it was a bit of an adventure. His left rear panel scraped the wall, but he hung on to it for a good qualifying lap.
Junior is seventh
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a special place in his heart for TMS. He won his first Sprint Cup victory on the Fort Worth track. He’ll start seventh Sunday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., making only his second start at TMS, put up a top-10qualifying effort. He started 17th in April and finished 40th, so this is a big chance for him.
Jeff Gordon will start eighth, which sounds low for the third-place Chase driver coming off a win last week. But he hasn’t qualified well recently at TMS. He started eighth in April, ending a string of six starts outside the top 10.