Edwards Wins Pole for SYLVANIA 300
Edwards Sweeps Cup Poles at New Hampshire
Carl Edwards is still looking for his first win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but he's certainly getting good at Friday qualifying. The Joe Gibbs Racing pilot took the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole for the second time this season at the Magic Mile - he started from the top spot in the July race - and will lead the field to green for Sunday's SYLVANIA 300, the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
"We knew qualifying here would be important. I'm starting to really enjoy coming to New Hampshire," said Edwards, joining Hamlin as the only two of JGR's four drivers to make it to the final round of qualifying. All four qualified inside the top-10 in July.
"The third round surprised me how fast we were, but I think that's just a testament to how fast the car is."
The top-five qualifiers are all Chasers, as Kevin Harvick will start on the outside of the first row, followed by Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.
"There's a fine line between being aggressive and not being aggressive enough (in qualifying). I think I just left a little out there today," said Harvick, who led the point standings in the regular season, but sits 15th in points after a 42nd-place finish the first Chase race (the top 12 advance to the Contender Round). "We don't let circumstances bother us. We just come to each different racetrack with a plan and that's what we're going to do here this weekend."
Other Chase contenders starting inside the top-10 include Denny Hamlin (seventh), defending SYLVANIA 300 champion Joey Logano (eighth), Ryan Newman (ninth) and Jeff Gordon (10th), who will set a new "Iron Man" mark with his 789th consecutive start on Sunday.
"This means a lot to me, but it also means I've been racing for a long time," said Gordon, who received a commemorative granite trophy for his accomplishment. "I'm very proud of this, but I'm also a very superstitious person. The record is cool, but my focus is on trying to win on Sunday."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11th), Matt Kenseth (13th), July race winner Kyle Busch (17th), Paul Menard (20th), Martin Truex Jr. (21st), Jamie McMurray (23rd) and Clint Bowyer (26th) round out the starting positions for drivers in the Chase.
For Edwards, it's his 16th pole in 401 NASCAR Cup races. This is his third pole and 16th top-10 start in 2015, and his second pole in 23 races at NHMS.
"This track is pretty straightforward, but one little mistake can cost you a lot," said Edwards, who followed up his pole with a seventh-place finish in July's 5-hour ENERGY 301. "We were in the same position in July, but didn't execute during the race. Hopefully we can be a lot better here this time."
Whelen Modified Tour qualifying
Two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion and two-time NHMS winner Doug Coby will start on the pole for Saturday's F.W. Webb 100. Coby's speed of 130.752 mph was fast enough to take the top spot over Bobby Santos, who will start on the outside of the first row.
Woody Pitkat, Donny Lia and Timmy Solomito round out the top-five qualifiers.
Points leader Ryan Preece, who will make his Sprint Cup Series debut on Sunday, starts 17th.
NASCAR's best will race for Loudon the Lobster on Sunday at 2 p.m. A limited number of seats for both Saturday and Sunday's events are still available. To purchase tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.