Edwards earns Coors Light pole; JGR sweeps front row
RELATED: Full race lineup " See all 40 cars BRISTOL, Tenn. -- 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 .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." 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. RELATED: See the spin from early in qualifying
Edwards scores second consecutive Coors Light Pole
Carl Edwards follows up a Coors Light Pole Award from Texas Motor Speedway with another one at Bristol Motor Speedway. He'll start first in the Food City 500.
Logano earns Coors Light Pole at Martinsville
RELATED: Full starting lineup MARTINSVILLE, Va. – The third time was the charm for Joey Logano . Then again, so were the first and second. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford dominated qualifying for Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET on FS1), topping the speed chart in all three sessions of Friday's knockout qualifying at Martinsville Speedway . The Coors Light Pole Award was the third straight for Logano at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped short track, marking the first time a driver has won three consecutive poles at Martinsville since Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 2003-2004. Navigating the speedway in 19.513 seconds (97.043 mph), Logano claimed the top starting in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for the 15th time in his career. Logano, who was taken out of last year's Chase race when Matt Kenseth drove him into the Turn 1 wall, also is the third driver to sweep all three rounds in time trials since the group qualifying format was instituted at the start of the 2014 season. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys," Logano said of his team. "I say all the time that Martinsville is the most important track to start up front, and that's when you've got to come here and really show what you've got. "This is a nice little fire for us to get going. We've had a good season so far, but you want to break through and get some wins, and this pole is definitely going to help with some momentum." Logano edged outside front-row starter Kasey Kahne (97.033 mph) by .002 seconds. The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet hadn't enjoyed a top-five position on the grid since last October's Chase race at Talladega. "It feels good," Kahne said. "The car was really fast, this Great Clips Chevrolet. The guys did a nice job in practice and in qualifying. I just kept getting better with my laps. We didn't make any adjustments. The car is fine. Just let me get my laps a little better. So we did that, and it was close. "Joey just barely got us. But it is definitely a good starting spot. That was one of my goals today was to help out on pit road (by earning second pit selection). Pit road is huge here. We have the best pit crew for stops, than anyone, in my opinion. And if I can help them on pit road, myself, and get a better spot, I think all that will be beneficial on Sunday." Brian Vickers , who led Friday's opening practice at Martinsville, qualified third at 96.864 mph. Paul Menard (96.854 mph) was fourth, followed by Ryan Newman (96.736 mph) and AJ Allmendinger (96.676 mph). Vickers was the only Stewart-Haas Racing driver to advance past the first round. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch , both former winners at the track, will start 19th and 23rd, respectively. Denny Hamlin -- reigning race winner and one of the pre-race favorites -- earned the eighth starting spot, but eight-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson wasn't as fortunate. The six-time Sprint Cup champion squeaked into the second round by .007 seconds over Carl Edwards but couldn't improve beyond the 24th-place starting position. The two leading drivers in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle, however, both made the top 12. Chase Elliott will take the green flag from in 10th, with Ryan Blaney right behind him in 12th, as the Wood Brothers Racing team returns to Martinsville for the first time since 2011. Dale Earnhardt Jr . experienced brake issues and qualified 21st.
Austin Dillon wins Coors Light Pole Award at Fontana
RELATED: Complete lineup " See the cars in starting order for Sunday FONTANA, Calif. – Austin Dillon delivered a parting shot that turned out to be a called shot. After taking questions from reporters after Friday's opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Auto Club Speedway , Dillon paused to watch the last minute of Middle Tennessee State's upset victory over Michigan State in the NCAA basketball tournament. On his way out the door, Dillon was asked about his prospects for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the two-mile track. "Ask me tomorrow (after practice)," Dillon said. "But I think we've got a shot at the pole today." Dillon's parting comment proved prophetic. In the money round of knockout qualifying, the driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet toured the abrasive track in 38.200 seconds (188.482 mph) to earn the top starting spot for Sunday’s race. The Coors Light Pole Award was Dillon's first since he topped qualifying for the season-opening Daytona 500 in his 2014 rookie season. "I'm not (just) a Daytona 500 polesitter now—I got a pole somewhere else," Dillon said. "And to do it at a driver's race track like this here at Fontana means a lot to me. "I'm just proud of this American Ethanol team. We've had fast cars all year long, and I knew going into that third session, if I didn't make mistakes I would have a shot. I just stayed with it off of (Turn) 4. … It worked out for us." Dillon edged last week's Phoenix winner, Kevin Harvick (188.329 mph), by .031 seconds. Denny Hamlin qualified third after leading the second round with a track-record run at (188.511 mph), breaking the mark of 188.245 mph set by current Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in 2005. Conserving his equipment for the final run, Dillon adhered to a blueprint devised by his engineers. "We wanted to be from 13th to 24th in that first (round)," Dillon said. "We were 13th (tied with Kyle Busch ) on the front side of that. On the second run I was a little tight. We just kept freeing the car up a little bit there to help ourselves in that third run and it all worked out." Ryan Newman earned the fourth spot in the grid, followed by Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , and Trevor Bayne . Harvick lost time through the first two turns on his final-round lap. "Each round was a little bit different," said the 2014 series champion. "The second round, I had a little traffic getting onto the race track. The first round was pretty clean. I didn't really change anything. (In the third round) I think I caught the inside of that seam with the right-side tires a little more than I wanted to through (Turns) 1 and 2 and it just started to step out and I had to pedal it three or four times down there because it was loose. "Pretty good through (Turns) 3 and 4, but, all in all, a good day for our team, and hopefully we can cap that off with a win when we get done on Sunday." Notes: Dillon's Daytona 500 pole was also the last pole for RCR. ... Jimmie Johnson qualified 19th, and Dale Earnhardt Jr . will start 27th after failing to advance past the first round. ... Chase Elliott qualified eighth, six spots ahead of fellow rookie Ryan Blaney .
Logano leads final practice, No. 14 team practices switch
Practice 2: Full results Joey Logano launched to the fastest speed in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway . Logano, winner of the series' most recent race here last October, posted a best lap of 196.290 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. He was just .013 seconds ahead of Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Blaney , second-fastest at 196.238 mph in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford. Fellow rookie Chase Elliott was third-fastest at 196.185 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. Danica Patrick (195.094 mph) and rookie Brian Scott completed the top five in the final 55-minute prep for Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Few drivers participated in large packs, with most spending time concentrating on single-car runs to prepare for Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying (12:30 p.m. ET, FOX). But with inclement weather in Saturday's forecast, several drivers attempted to better their position in the practice order should qualifying be washed out. Among those was Blaney, one of five drivers attempting to qualify for the four starting berths reserved for open, non-chartered teams. He received aerodynamic help from Logano, whose Penske team shares an alliance with the Wood Brothers, a fellow Ford operation. Ty Dillon , on standby for Tony Stewart in his second race back from a back injury, was 16th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet. The team spent the majority of the session practicing in the garage for a quick driver change, something the team plans to do midstream in Sunday's 500-miler as Stewart eases his way back from his injuries. Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . was seventh-fastest at 193.584 mph around the 2.66-mile track. Practice 1: Full results Two-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Jamie McMurray topped opening practice. The wheelman of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet posted a fastest lap of 199.737 mph. Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest during the 55-minute session, propelling the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile track at 199.729 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing 's Kurt Busch rounded out the top three with his No. 41 coming in at 199.409 mph. Busch's teammate Danica Patrick was next in her No. 10 Chevrolet (199.384 mph) while the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne earned the fifth-quickest lap (199.317 mph). The back-to-back race winner of 2016, Carl Edwards was 23rd (196.552 mph) in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Tony Stewart and Ty Dillon took turns wheeling the No. 14 throughout practice and earned 29th (195.884 mph). Dillon will fill in as a relief driver for "Smoke" during qualifying and the 500-mile event. Six-time Talladega winner, and defending race champ, Dale Earnhardt Jr . finished practice 32nd (195.150 mph).
Ty Dillon subs in for Stewart in Talladega
RELATED: Talladega leaderboard " How Stewart will be scored Ty Dillon subbed in for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart on Sunday, taking over the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway . The team made the driver switch in the 52nd of a scheduled 188 laps in Sunday's GEICO 500 . The swap went according to plan, with Dillon intending to fill in during the first caution period as Stewart eases back to full-time competition after suffering a broken back in an offseason all-terrain vehicle accident. After a pit-road speeding penalty during the first round of green-flag pit stops, Stewart was running a lap down at the time of the first caution period, triggered by a three-car crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kasey Kahne and Matt DiBenedetto . Stewart was the beneficiary of the yellow flag, putting him back on the lead lap. After regaining his lost lap, Stewart pitted separately of the main pack and Dillon resumed near the tail end of the field in 33rd place. Stewart told FOX Sports' Jamie Little after exiting the car that "it sucks" to turn over the wheel, but that he understood the reasoning. He plans to return full-time next weekend at Kansas Speedway . "If I wouldn't have broken my back in the end of January, we wouldn't have been in this situation," Stewart said. "The good news is it's the last time I've got to do it and then I'm back in the next week. Really appreciate Ty. I mean, he's been a rock star through this whole thing and especially this weekend. He's done all the heavy lifting and I just go riding around for 50 laps and turn it over to him." Dillon, a NASCAR XFINITY Series regular with 12 Sprint Cup starts, drove the No. 14 in Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying to the 14th starting spot. Stewart started Sunday's 500-miler, dropping to the rear of the 40-car field before the green flag because of the driver change. "Guys, I know this isn't the optimal situation, but we have a kid who's done a great job for us," Stewart told his team over the radio during pace laps. "He'll do another great job today." As the driver of record at the initial start, Stewart stands to gain championship points based on Dillon's eventual finish. A victory would count toward Stewart's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs eligibility. Dillon made three starts for SHR this season in place of Stewart, dividing driving duties with Brian Vickers .
Kurt Busch flies to Coors Light Pole in Vegas
RELATED: See the full field " Starting lineup Hometown favorite Kurt Busch roared to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Busch pushed the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet to a fast lap of 196.328 mph, snagging the first starting spot for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The pole position was Busch's second of the season, second at the 1.5-mile Sin City track and 21st of his Sprint Cup career. "Man, I wasn't going to lift for anything," Busch said. "I was giving it all I had. I'm really proud of the team to help me get to that third round. I was overdriving the car and I needed to settle in and (crew chief) Tony Gibson made a great adjustment in that last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole, but now we've got to go to work tomorrow. I hope we can get the car dialed in for long run speed for Sunday." Joey Logano qualified for the second starting spot with a best lap of 195.851 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Matt Kenseth qualified third in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Brad Keselowski , Logano's Penske teammate, secured the fourth starting spot with Austin Dillon completing the top five in the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet. Kevin Harvick , the defending race winner, was sixth-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevy. Four-time Vegas winner Jimmie Johnson , who prevailed last week at Atlanta, landed the 11th starting spot in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin , driving a backup Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 after a crash in Thursday testing, qualified ninth. Carl Edwards failed to advance out of the second of three rounds of elimination-style qualifying after hitting the wall in Turn 2. His Joe Gibbs Racing crew unloaded a reserve car to prepare for Sunday's 400-miler, the third premier-series race of the season. "It hit hard , bounced up the race track and man, that was it," Edwards said after emerging unhurt. RELATED: Edwards to backup car after qualifying wreck The crash was to Brian Vickers ' detriment. The fill-in driver for the injured Tony Stewart in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevy had a fast lap scrubbed off when the red flag flew for Edwards' incident early in the 10-minute segment. Stewart, back at the track for the second straight week as he recovers from a broken vertebra, was seen with crew chief Mike Bugarewicz arguing the team's case to NASCAR officials on pit road. The opening 20-minute qualifying session was also marked by a pair of incidents. Jamie McMurray tagged the outside wall at Turn 4's exit with his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet. And Keselowski's crew was forced to change a tire on the Team Penske No. 2 Ford after a piece of stray metal caused a flat. The team was allowed to make the adjustment between rounds without penalty. Busch, a Las Vegas native, also earned the designation of fastest qualifier with a best lap of 196.378 mph in the opening session, a shade better than his pole-winning lap. Busch's speed eclipsed the former track record of 194.678 mph set by Jeff Gordon at the 1.5-mile venue last March.
Kyle Busch wins Coors Light Pole Award at Phoenix
RELATED: Complete lineup " See every paint scheme for Sunday AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Running the fastest lap of the day when it counted most, Kyle Busch paced a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top three starting spots for Sunday's Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Busch covered the one-mile distance in 26.014 seconds (138.387 mph) in Friday's final round of knockout qualifying, a session interrupted by Jimmie Johnson's hard wreck against the Turn 2 wall. The Coors Light Pole Award was Busch's first of the season (after an inspection failure cost him the top starting spot at Atlanta), his third at Phoenix and the 18th of his career. "It was a good day," Busch said. "Unloading off the truck, everything seemed to go real well. I wasn't sure about our speed in race trim, but then hopped over to qualifying trim and, for as not as good of a feel that the car had, we had some good speed, so that was definitely a plus -- being able to have some good laps there and being able to run a really good lap there in the last session." Carl Edwards (137.515 mph) was second fastest in the final round, followed by JGR teammate Denny Hamlin (137.426 mph). Kurt Busch (137.394 mph), trying for his third straight pole, will start fourth in Sunday's race. Johnson earned the fifth position on the grid with his first lap in the final round, but the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion went to a backup car after his wreck and will drop to the rear of the field for the start of the race. Johnson initially said said he wasn’t sure what made his car drive straight into the Turn 2 wall, although he later confirmed his steering wheel came off. "Certainly, a lot of 'straight' in an area of the track that I didn't need to have straight," he said. "So, we'll have to get to the bottom of it and see what went on. But, just a really hard impact to the outside wall. "I'm thankful that we have SAFER barriers and soft walls. I'm very disappointed, because we had a very fast race car, and the guys have been working so hard to get this thing tuned-up. Thankfully, we have tomorrow to work on the back-up car and try to get it up to speed and get it going, but this is certainly not what we wanted right now." Johnson's crash wasn't the only calamity in what was a bizarre qualifying session for Hendrick Motorsports. Kasey Kahne's engine caught fire after the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet posted the third fastest lap in the opening round. Forced to change engines after smoke spewed from the air cleaner for several minutes. Kahne will join Johnson at the rear of the field for the start of Sunday’s race. The team surmised later that the engine went into EFI (electronic fuel injection) protection mode and blew up. Kahne was mystified by the problem but said the engine had continued to run after he attempted to shut it off. Kevin Harvick, who has won three of the last four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at PIR, will have to charge from mid-pack after qualifying 18th on Friday. "We’ve just been off in qualifying every week so far," Harvick said. "Just not hitting the balance from practice to qualifying."
Logano claims third straight Coors Light Pole Award at Martinsville
Joey Logano will be starting the STP 500 from a familiar position after he won his third straight Coors Light Pole Award at Martinsville Speedway.
Dillon notches his second career Coors Light Pole Award
Hear from Austin Dillon after he grabs his first Coors Light Pole Award since 2014 and the second one of his career.