Stewart Sails to Atlanta Pole

Tony Stewart

Stewart posted a lap of 186.121 mph. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tony Stewart took the 14th pole of his Sprint Cup Series career when he earned the top spot for the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Stewart’s lap of 186.121 mph topped the session and he won his first pole since Charlotte last October.

“I want to run a good lap every time, but I know the bigger prize is on Sunday," Stewart said. "It doesn’t mean I don’t want poles, I just don’t normally get them.”

It is the defending series champion’s first career pole at the 1.54-mile speedway

“That lap was 100 percent due to Ryan Newman," Stewart said of his teammate and seven-time Atlanta pole winner. "He came back down to help us before we went out and said, 'There's a ton of grip up there, you just got to do it.'

"I told myself that was what I was going to do. If it weren't him, we wouldn't be on the pole."

Greg Biffle will start outside the front row for the third time in his career.

“It was quite a bit better than practice was,” said Biffle, who leads the Sprint Cup Series point standings. “It sort of hurts, though, to qualify second like we did today. You ask any driver after qualifying and they could give you 100 reasons where they made a mistake or where they could do better.”

Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon completed the first five qualifiers.

Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top 10.

“This is a really tough one-and-a-half mile race track,” said Ambrose, who is in the thick of the Chase Wild card race. “It doesn’t feel like the traditional one-and-a-half mile because the track is so old with low grip and it’s rough. You’ve got to really mandhandle the car around there. There’s no easy way to get around a lap, but I feel good about it. I feel good where we’re at and we’ll start somewhere in the front half of the field for Sunday’s race and we’ll get after it and try to get ourselves another win.”

Danica Patrick will start 23rd, her best career Sprint Cup Series qualifying effort.

Four drivers failed to make Sunday’s race; Michael McDowell, Josh Wise, Stephen Leicht and Mike Bliss.

Sprint Cup Series drivers will practice on Saturday in preparation for Sunday night’s race.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Tony Stewart

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