Carl Edwards On The Pole For Sprint Cup Series At The Brickyard

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Carl Edwards celebrates winning the Sprint Cup Series pole Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards celebrates winning the Sprint Cup Series pole Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for NASCAR)

INDIANAPOLIS—If Toyota and Ford are to break the Chevrolet stranglehold on Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the two manufacturers took a positive step in that direction during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series time trials on Saturday.

Underscoring the recent resurgence of Joe Gibbs Racing, Carl Edwards toured the 2.5-mile track in 49.056 seconds (183.464 mph) to put his No. 19 Toyota on the pole for Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), edging Joey Logano’s Team Penske Ford (183.139 mph) by .087 seconds.

David Ragan (182.886 mph) qualified third in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Fourth-place qualifier Tony Stewart (182.823 mph) had the fastest Chevrolet in the final round. Chevrolets have won the last 12 Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis.

Stewart, though, had the fastest lap of the afternoon (185.547 mph) in the first round of time trials, which trimmed the number of drivers eligible for the pole from 46 to 12.

The Coors Light Pole Award was Edwards’ first at The Brickyard, his second of the season, his second in a row and the 15th of his career.

“After yesterday, this is amazing,” Edwards said. “We started so slow yesterday and we struggled. I think at one point (crew chief) Darian (Grubb) and I were looking at each other going, ‘What are we going to do here?’

“It was a struggle, and everybody buckled down, worked hard—I’m so proud of my guys. TRD and Toyota have been putting so much effort into this whole program. Stanley has been behind us 100 percent—not just me, but Matt Kenseth and our whole team. This is big. It will be neat to start up front.”

Kyle Busch, Edwards’ JGR teammate, will start ninth on Sunday in search of his third consecutive victory in the Sprint Cup Series. Sidelined for the first 11 events of the season by injuries sustained in an accident at Daytona in February, Busch has won three of the last four races and has seven races left in which to regain eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by finishing the regular season in the top 30 in the series standings.

Entering Sunday’s race, Busch is 33rd in points, 58 behind David Gilliland in 30th place.

Behind Stewart, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up fifth through eighth on the grid.

After qualifying, Logano and Ragan were quick to point out an unusual coincidence. Edwards, Logano and Ragan started 1-2-3, in that order, a week before at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a one-mile flat track.

The Sprint Cup cars are running a completely different high-drag aerodynamic package this week, with a nine-inch-tall rear spoiler and a one-inch wicker. Last week at Loudon, the cars featured the normal 2015 rules package with a six-inch spoiler.

“David and I were just laughing up here that these are the same three race cars that started up front at Loudon,” Logano said. “A completely different race track, different package and the same cars are fast. It’s good for us. We’re close. Second always hurts, but it’s nice to be up toward the front, especially here.”

Jeff Gordon’s final run at Indianapolis as a full-time driver didn’t start the way the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet would have hoped.

“I really think our 3M Chevrolet is really good,” said Gordon, who qualified 19th. “It’s been good all weekend. I feel like I underestimated the grip. I had a little wiggle out of three coming to the green and that concerned me slightly. The grip was there in Turn 4, and I was aggressive into Turn 1, but not aggressive enough.

“That’s what’s disappointing; it wasn’t a balance issue or a speed issue. I didn’t get enough speed through (Turn) 1. It adds up with this new package. Yeah, I’m pretty disappointed to start back there.”

Notes: Josh Wise, Jeb Burton and Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field… Ryan Newman’s time was disallowed because he ran his lap without the mandatory right-side window in his car. Newman will start 43rd on Sunday on a provisional.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Speedway, Indiana
Saturday, July 25, 2015

1. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 183.464 mph.
2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 183.139 mph.
3. (55) David Ragan, Toyota, 182.886 mph.
4. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 182.823 mph.
5. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 182.634 mph.
6. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 182.448 mph.
7. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 182.382 mph.
8. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 182.308 mph.
9. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 182.278 mph.
10. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 182.238 mph.
11. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 182.028 mph.
12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 181.987 mph.
13. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 183.240 mph.
14. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 183.072 mph.
15. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 183.001 mph.
16. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 182.667 mph.
17. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 182.637 mph.
18. (9) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 182.482 mph.
19. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 182.389 mph.
20. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 182.360 mph.
21. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 182.238 mph.
22. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 182.113 mph.
23. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 182.079 mph.
24. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 181.939 mph.
25. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 181.928 mph.
26. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 181.910 mph.
27. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 181.386 mph.
28. (25) Chase Elliott(i), Chevrolet, 181.036 mph.
29. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 180.963 mph.
30. (21) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 180.919 mph.
31. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 180.854 mph.
32. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 180.777 mph.
33. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 180.469 mph.
34. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 180.426 mph.
35. (7) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 180.325 mph.
36. (33) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 180.022 mph.
37. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, Owner Points
38. (23) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, Owner Points
39. (34) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, Owner Points
40. (83) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, Owner Points
41. (35) Cole Whitt, Ford, Owner Points
42. (98) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, Owner Points
43. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Owner Points

3 drivers failed to qualify.

44. (32) Josh Wise, Ford, 178.941 mph.
45. (26) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, 176.170 mph.
46. (62) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 174.540 mph.

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