By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Carl Edwards didn’t run a perfect lap in Friday’s final round of knockout qualifying, but he had plenty of car to compensate.
“I made a little mistake, and I thought that was going to cost us,” said Edwards, who earned the top starting spot for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 (on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET) at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap at 194.609 mph. “Fortunately, our car is very fast.
“It’s a huge deal for us to get our first pole of the year, and I just can’t say enough about the guys. That car was great. (Crew chief) Dave (Rogers) has been working really hard. Honestly, the car was better than I was—it was fast.”
In claiming his second Coors Light Pole Award and the 17th of his career, Edwards, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at Texas, covered the 1.5-mile distance in 27.748 seconds in the money round, beating Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. by .187 seconds.
Though Logano and Truex ran the same speed, 193.306 mph, Logano got the second starting spot on the basis of higher standing in owner points—second to Truex’s third.
Rookie Chase Elliott qualified fourth, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin and fellow rookie Ryan Blaney. Six-time Texas winner Jimmie Johnson will try to earn his fourth straight victory at the track from the 11th starting position.
The old pavement at Texas seems to suit Edwards’ style.
“I like it here,” said the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, who set the fastest lap of the day (195.214 mph) in the second of the three rounds. “I really enjoy Texas. I have a lot of friends here. This is a fun place to race. The tire, I don’t know what the other guys feel, the tire and downforce package for me lets me feel like I can go into the corner and move around and feel the tire underneath me.
“Even in qualifying, there were times when I got a little sideways, and it slid a little bit, and I could recover, and that’s really fun as a race car driver. Hopefully the race goes well.”
Atypically, Logano made a second run in the final round after falling short of Edwards in his first attempt.
“It was a last-ditch effort,” Logano said. “We were really good in (Turns) 1 and 2. That’s where we beating the 19. And then I went in there the last time, and it didn‘t turn like it was, and I was like, “Oh, no, that’s our good area…’
“We actually fixed (Turns) 3 and 4, and we were pretty good down there. But we kind of flip-flopped, and we needed both… Just (with) another run on the tires, it’s so hard to go faster at this track.”
Note: Edwards’ qualifying success broke a streak of 11 straight different pole winners at the track. Edwards’ other Texas pole came in 2013, in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Duck Commander 500
1. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 194.609 mph.
2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 193.306 mph.
3. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 193.306 mph.
4. (24) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 193.036 mph.
5. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 192.940 mph.
6. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 192.912 mph.
7. (21) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 192.885 mph.
8. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.685 mph.
9. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 192.362 mph.
10. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 192.349 mph.
11. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 191.510 mph.
12. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 190.570 mph.
13. (14) Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, 192.905 mph.
14. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 192.850 mph.
15. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 192.644 mph.
16. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 192.548 mph.
17. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 192.404 mph.
18. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 192.007 mph.
19. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 191.918 mph.
20. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 191.707 mph.
21. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 191.598 mph.
22. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 191.537 mph.
23. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 191.435 mph.
24. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 191.340 mph.
25. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 192.417 mph.
26. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 192.116 mph.
27. (44) Brian Scott #, Ford, 191.986 mph.
28. (7) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 191.775 mph.
29. (83) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 191.476 mph.
30. (95) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 191.286 mph.
31. (23) David Ragan, Toyota, 191.252 mph.
32. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 190.564 mph.
33. (38) Landon Cassill, Ford, 190.228 mph.
34. (34) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 190.121 mph.
35. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 189.367 mph.
36. (15) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 189.122 mph.
37. (98) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 188.193 mph.
38. (32) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 185.522 mph.
39. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 184.963 mph.
40. (55) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 181.592 mph.
Image: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images