Joe Gibbs Racing Sweeps The Front Row For The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race At Bristolby Hunter Thomas August 19, 2016 0 comments
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three spots in Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Earning his fifth pole of the 2016 season, Carl Edwards will bring the field down to the green flag on Saturday night in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. Edwards ran a lap of 14.602 seconds at 131.407 mph to place his No. 19 Stanley Toyota on the pole. The 37-year old now has four career poles at Bristol Motor Speedway. In practice, Edwards was a top-10 car, and during Round 1 of qualifying, he backed the weekend effort up with the seventh fastest lap; however, he jumped up to fifth in Round 2 before clocking the fastest lap in the third and final round.
“A little bit surprising – we didn’t make a mock run,” Edwards said. “That tells you how great of teammates I have. They’re so fast and they helped us a lot, so we’ll start where we started earlier this year. Hopefully we can put STANLEY in victory lane, but this is going to be a heck of a race. Those are fast laps. That’s a lot of fun. Just proud of my guys – they worked really hard. We rolled the dice and it was fast.”
Starting alongside of Edwards on Saturday will be his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin. He was the fastest in Round 1 and 2, but he came up just sort by 0.023 seconds in Round 3. Hamlin has 21 top-10 starts so far this season, and he has 10 career top-10 starting efforts at the speedway.
“We lost the balance the lost couple rounds for sure, but overall still pretty happy with our FedEx Express Camry,” Hamlin said. “Through the weekend, we’ve had really good speed, so pretty optimistic about that. I can’t believe we’ve qualified as good as we have this year and to not have gotten a pole has been unbelievable, but still a great effort by our whole team and hopefully we have a good race up here tomorrow night and we get in victory lane.”
Rounding out the top-three is Kyle Busch, who was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday. In Qualifying, Busch ran the second fastest lap in Round 1 and only the seventh fastest in Round 2. Busch was 0.053 seconds slower than pole sitter, Carl Edwards. He has 16 top-10 starts this season. Busch has started within the top-10 on eight occasions at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Third is a pretty solid place to start,” Busch said. “The M&M’S Camry handled well today. Of course the pole position would’ve been awesome, but we’ll take third and give it our best shot tomorrow night.”
Starting fourth will be rookie, Ryan Blaney. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth rounds out the top-five. Finishing out the top-10 is Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images