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Carl Edwards grabs pole for AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Nov. 01, 2013
More information After Friday qualifying; race Sunday At Texas Motor Speedway Track: 1.5 miles
St.No.DriverCarSpeed
199Carl EdwardsFord196.114
22Brad KeselowskiFord196.100
348Jimmie JohnsonChevrolet195.943
427Paul MenardChevrolet195.837
518Kyle BuschToyota195.780
620Matt KensethToyota195.518
788Dale Earnhardt Jr.Chevrolet195.312
824Jeff GordonChevrolet195.171
917Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford195.129
109Marcos AmbroseFord195.030
115Kasey KahneChevrolet194.665
1222Joey LoganoFord194.517
1339Ryan NewmanChevrolet194.384
1411Denny HamlinToyota194.377
1556Martin Truex Jr.Toyota194.161
1642Juan Pablo MontoyaChevrolet193.805
1743Aric AlmirolaFord193.659
1816Greg BiffleFord193.618
1929Kevin HarvickChevrolet193.604
2031Jeff BurtonChevrolet193.403
2133Austin DillonChevrolet193.334
2247Bobby LabonteToyota193.126
2330Parker KligermanToyota193.043
241Jamie McMurrayChevrolet192.933
2555Elliott SadlerToyota192.905
2615Clint BowyerToyota192.802
2713Casey MearsFord192.651
2838David GillilandFord192.048
2934David RaganFord191.891
3010Danica PatrickChevrolet191.829
3178Kurt BuschChevrolet191.421
3221Trevor BayneFord191.347
3314Mark MartinChevrolet190.530
3435Josh WiseFord189.880
3598Michael McDowellFord189.321
3651Kyle LarsonChevrolet189.235
3740Landon CassillChevroletOwn. pts.
3893Travis KvapilToyotaOwn. pts.
3983David ReutimannToyotaOwn. pts.
4032Timmy HillFordOwn. pts.
4187Joe NemechekToyotaOwn. pts.
427Dave BlaneyChevroletOwn. pts.
4336J.J. YeleyChevroletOwn. pts.

Please excuse Carl Edwards. He was feeling left out.

Edwards interrupted what has become a two-man battle for the Sprint Cup Series championship in theory if not in fact, to win the pole for Sunday’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Edwards, who went out late in Friday’s qualifying session, used an average lap speed of 196.114 mph to knock fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski out of the top spot.

Although he and his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing team may be 10th in the series standings and out of the championship hunt for all practical purposes, Edwards remains focused on returning to Victory Lane.

“We’re here to win,” said Edwards, who has won twice this season, at Phoenix and Richmond, Va. “We’re trying as hard as we can. We’ve given it everything we’ve got.

“My guys worked so hard here on the test. I think we were the last people to leave the race track at that test, and the guys worked really hard and it paid off today. I have wanted the pole here so badly for so long – it is just really cool.”

The pole is Edwards’ second of the season and 13th of his career.

The pole contributes to an opportunity Edwards already had to end the season with a strong run, and he does not want to squander it over the final three races.

Roush cars have typically performed well at Texas – Edwards has three wins here – and Homestead, and Edwards won the spring race at Phoenix.

“I would like to win the championship, but I don’t know if that is in the cards,” Edwards said. “I can tell you that we will go to these last three races to win all three races. There is nothing we are not bringing to the race track equipment-wise, effort-wise and we are coming to win.

“For us, it is really about gearing up for next season. I never believed in momentum, but you guys have proved me wrong. I guess what I am saying is that we would really like to, no matter what the points situation, to finish the season strong because I feel it will help us get started next season.”

Fords may own front row Sunday, but this season’s top championship contenders are not far behind.

Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth – who are tied atop the standings – qualified third and sixth, respectively. Jeff Gordon, who is third and 27 points behind, will line up eighth.

Several drivers, including Edwards, Johnson and Kenseth, were just at Texas a little more than a week ago participating in a test that had been delayed a week by bad weather.

“We tested here, and I feel good about our car,” Johnson said. “We just wrapped up a few days in Homestead, so I feel good about our stuff.

“When we pulled in to test here and at Homestead, we noticed Joe Gibbs Racing was there, too, so it’s not like we’ve been getting a leg up on Matt. It’s hard to feel like we found something over them, but we had two really good test sessions.”

For the remaining drivers in the Chase, Kyle Busch qualified fifth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. seventh, Kasey Kahne 11th, Joey Logano 12th, Ryan Newman 13th, Greg Biffle 18th, Kevin Harvick 19th, Clint Bowyer 26th and Kurt Busch 31st.

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @Jim_Utter

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