Food City 500 starting lineup set as Carl Edwards wins pole
After forcing all the other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to play a futile game of catchup in Friday qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards then went in search of some ketchup.
"I need some for my motorhome," Edwards said after earning the pole for this Sunday's Food City 500 at the .533-mile short track.
Meanwhile, he had everything he needed in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in qualifying, when his top speed of 127.997 miles per hour was fastest in the field.
"This place is really complicated, and my guys did a really good job of making the car drive well on all different segments," Edwards told FOX Sports. "You drive into the corner and these things just take off and slide. (Crew chief) Dave (Rogers) and everybody did a really good job.
"It's really cool to get this pole and hopefully we can get some ketchup here this afternoon, too."
Edwards will be joined on the front row by Matt Kenseth, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate who was second-fastest in qualifying with a top speed of 127.419 mph. Rounding out the top five in qualifying were Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch -- meaning JGR cars will occupy four of the top five starting positions.
Kyle Busch was fastest in Round 2 of the three-round knockout qualifying format, turning a top lap in 15.078 seconds. He was followed by Logano, Edwards, Kenseth and Brad Keselowski.
Among those who failed to make it into the final round were Jamie McMurray, who narrowly missed it and will roll off in 13th on Sunday; and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will start 20th.
"We couldn't really back up what we did in practice," said Earnhardt.
In Round 1, the JGR cars swept the first four positions with Edwards the fastest, followed by Hamlin, Kenseth and Kyle Busch.
There was drama in the opening round when Ty Dillon, driving the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet while subbing for the injured Tony Stewart, clipped the apron coming off Turn 2 and spun. He ended up spinning into the back of the slowing car of Landon Cassill in front of him, damaging Cassill’s No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford as well as his own car.
"I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking in my mirror," Cassill said. "If I would have seen a car sideways at the right time, I probably would have tried to speed up. I don’t know how much that could have helped me, but it’s bad timing on my part, I guess.”
“It’s quite a bit of damage to the right-rear. It’s gonna be a lot of work for the guys to fix it, but it’s pretty much just cosmetic, so we’ll get it fixed, I think.”
Other prominent drivers joining Dillon and Cassill in failing to advance out of Round 1 included Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch.
For the complete starting lineup to Sunday's Food City 500, see below.