Vroom! Edwards Tops 202 mph, Wins Pole
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on June 14, 2013 | 4:54 P.M. EST
Carl Edwards won the pole Friday at Michigan with a lap of 202.452 mph. (Photo Getty Images)
Carl Edwards won the pole Friday for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 race at Michigan International Speedway.
Edwards turned a lap of 202.452 mph around the two-mile speedway to earn his first pole of the season. It was the 19th pole of 200 mph or more in NASCAR history.
Edwards did start on the pole at Talladega earlier this season when qualifying was rained out.
The Roush Fenway Racing drive also punched his ticket into next year’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona with the performance Friday afternoon under picture perfect conditions.
"This is one lap and it's good. I'm happy," said Edwards, he scored his first career Michigan pole. "But the process that's going to put us out front ... is just starting."
Edwards was a bit surprised at just how fast a lap he was able to record.
“I don’t think that is as fast at Marcos Ambrose ran, but that is fast for me,” said Edwards after his run, which did come up short of the track record Ambrose set last year of 203.241 mph. “I don’t think I could go any faster if I ran it again. I am really proud of that though.”
Edwards will try to give team owner Jack Roush a 13th Michigan victory in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 after scoring the first Ford pole of the 2013 season.
“Hopefully we can put a Roush Fenway Ford in victory lane. It is so cool to run here at Michigan. The fans are great and Ford Motor Company is so great for us. We’ve had fun the last couple of days driving all their new products and for Jack Roush, if we can do well here it is really cool.”
While some predicted laps would fall off after last year’s track record, Edwards said even a year after the track was repaved speeds remain very high.
“I don’t know if it has changed a lot,” said Edwards. “It seems like the track has aged a little bit which is going to be good. If the tires can fall off a little in the run it will be great. It is so fast. It is hard to describe what it feels like to go through the corner that fast in a 3,500 lb. stock car. It feels like an IndyCar looks to me. I don’t know what those feel like but it stuck.”
Kurt Busch qualified second at 201.879 mph with Kasey Kahne third at 201.213 mph. Paul Menard was next at 200.803 with Aric Almirola fifth at 200.764 mph. The top 13 drivers qualified better than 200 mph. Points leader Jimmie Johnson qualified 17th.
“We’ve had great speed all year and this was another example today of how hard this Furniture Row Racing team works,” said Busch. “We need to find consistency though as go forward and if we can do that we will have a shot at making the Chase.”
Kahne will look to bounce back from his early race troubles last week at Pocono.
“It’s a great spot for Sunday,” said Kahne. “Looking forward to the race, I don’t know the track is really nice and it seems like it will move around some so it should be good.”
Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top ten qualifiers.
Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have to come from the 12th starting spot to make it consecutive wins after a disappointing qualifying lap.
“I just thought it was slow,” said Earnhardt after his lap. “Everybody has been picking up. We didn’t pick up, got on the splitter real bad down in (turns) one and two and just couldn’t get in the gas. It shoved up out of the groove.”
Sprint Cup Series teams will have a pair of practice sessions on Saturday.
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will air live coverage of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 beginning at 12 Noon (ET) with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.