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Edwards starts championship weekend with pole

Carl Edwards gave himself a leg up on championship rival Tony Stewart on Saturday when he claimed the pole for Sunday’s Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a qualifying lap time of 30.775 seconds.

“That’s huge,” Edwards said. “That’s just one lap, but it’s a great start for us.”

According to Edwards, the advice he got from crew chief Bob Osborne prior to making his qualifying attempt was simple. He said Osborne told him, “Just run where you’re happy.”

Stewart, second in points and only three points behind leader Edwards heading into the final showdown, qualified outside the top-10 and will start 15th on Sunday after turning a 31.154-second lap during qualifying.

A.J. Allmendinger claimed the provisional pole during the qualifying session with a 31.082-second lap, but lost his shot at a front row starting spot to the Penske Racing duo of Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski. Allmendinger was shuffled back to 12th by the end of qualifying.

Busch was the first driver of the session to make a lap in under 31 seconds, taking the provisional pole from Allmendinger with a lap time of 30.942 seconds. Keselowski then joined his teammate on the provisional front row with his own under-31 lap of 30.947 seconds.

“We started off way on the tight side and then ended up on the loose side, so I said ‘hey, lets shoot for the middle,’” Busch said.

Like Allmendinger before them, the Penske duo also got knocked off the front row. Martin Truex Jr. took the provision pole from Busch with a 30.808-second lap in his Toyota. Kasey Kahne then made a 30.931-second lap in his Toyota that, at the time, was good enough for the provisional second spot to give Toyota the provisional front row.

The only driver remaining to beat the Toyota pair was Edwards. Truex remained on the front row and just slid over a spot to claim the second position on the starting grid for Sunday. Kahne will start third.

Busch and Keselowski round out the top-five.

Forty-eight drivers attempted to qualify for the Ford 400. Drivers who failed to make the race include Scott Speed, Reed Sorenson, Mike Skinner, Scott Riggs and Grant Enfinger.

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Photo of Carl Edwards courtesy of NASCAR Media



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