Biffle Takes Darlington Pole
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on May 11, 2012 | 6:32 P.M. EST
Biffle took his 11th career pole with a lap of 180.257 mph. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
DARLINGTON. S.C. - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point leader Greg Biffle captured the pole for Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Biffle went out second to last in the qualifying order and took the pole away from Jimmie Johnson with a fast lap of 180.257 mph.
"It was a great lap," Biffle said. "I can't say enough about these guys working on this 3M Ford Fusion. I was in and out of the gas down there in turn one and two, and in three and four. I felt I drove it in as far as I could and the car stuck really good."
The pole was the 11th of Biffle's career and second at Darlington.
"I love this race track," said Biffle, who won at Darlington in 2005 and 2006. "The fans down here are great and I can't wait for a great race tomorrow night."
Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne each posted identical laps of 27.386 seconds at 179.566 mph. As a result of being higher in the owner point standings, Johnson will start alongside Biffle on the front row.
"We’ve had a very productive day," Johnson said. "We put up a good time off the truck. We made a couple of efforts to fine-tune the qualifying set-up and got into race trim. I learned quite a bit in race trim. We actually brought some of that into our qualifying set-up and it paid off."
Ryan Newman and 2008 Darlington winner Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
"Qualifying lap was good," Busch said. "For as good as it felt though, I wish it was about a tenth-and-a-half (of a second) faster. We hadn't run a good, secure lap here today and that was probably the best we had, so pumped about that."
Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, defending race winner Regan Smith and Jeff Burton completed the top 10.
Danica Patrick will start 38th in her Darlington debut and second career Sprint Cup Series race after posting a speed of 175.497 mph.
“It’s the best lap I’ve turned all day in the Cup car, so that’s a positive," Patrick said. "I know the starting spot won’t be great, but it was a step forward for me and those are the things I’m looking for along the way."
Four drivers failed to qualify for the 11th race of the season: Michael McDowell, Stephen Leicht, Scott Riggs and Mike Bliss.
Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of Saturday's Bojangles' Southern 500 starting at 6 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.