Edwards Tops All-Star Qualifying

Carl Edwards

Edwards and team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the pole for the All-Star Race. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)


CONCORD, N.C. - With Dick Trickle’s name above the door, Carl Edwards drove to the pole for the Sprint All-Star race Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Hopefully his family is doing as best they can and, hopefully, he’s in a better place and we’re honoring him by doing that,’’ Edwards said of Trickle.

Dick TrickleEdwards said some of his crew members are from Wisconsin, Trickle’s home state. Edwards’ crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, was Trickle’s crew chief in 1989 when Trickle was the rookie of the year in the Cup series.

Edwards said his crew wanted to do something to honor Trickle and decided to put his name on the car.

Edwards won the pole with an average speed of 145.556 mph. The unique qualifying format consisted of three laps and a four-tire pit stop. A wrinkle this year was that there was no pit road speed limit. Some drivers entered pit road at more than 150 mph and exited at more than 100 mph.

“Hardest qualifying of my life,’’ Edwards said.

Kurt Busch qualified second at 144.068 mph. Busch, in a way, helped push Edwards to the pole. Busch entered pit road at 157 mph, among the fastest speeds.

“Everybody was talking about how fast Kurt Busch was coming on to pit road in practice,’’ Edwards said. “When he set that qualifying effort, I was pretty certain that you were going to have to get pretty insane to beat that.

“It was fun. I wish we did this more often.’’

Busch called the qualifying format a “fun treat. It’s like a step back in time when you get to throw caution to the wind and let ‘er rip.’’

Greg Biffle will start third with Kyle Busch and Joey Logano completing the top five. Clint Bowyer qualified sixth with Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon completing the top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have started in the top five but had a five-second penalty for a loose lug nut. He’ll start 15th.

Four drivers - Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose, Kevin Harvick and Logano - overshot their pit stall by varying distances.

Johnson, who qualified 18th, told his team on the radio after his run: “Sorry. I had a helluva time trying to get it stopped.’’

Earlier Friday, Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for the Sprint Showdown, Saturday’s preliminary race where the top two finishers and a fan vote winner will advance to the All-Star race.

Jamie McMurray qualified second and his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was third. Ricky Stenhouse qualified fourth and Casey Mears was fifth. Danica Patrick qualified seventh in the 23-car field.

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