Tony Stewart won the pole for Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the penultimate race in NASCAR’s 26-race regular season.
Stewart, not known as a great qualifier, ran 186.121 miles per hour in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet to capture the top spot in Sunday’s race. It was his 14th career pole in 489 starts, but first at Atlanta.
Greg Biffle showed the strength of the Roush Fenway Racing contingent, qualifying second at 185.648 miles per hour, just ahead of Kyle Busch’s 185.493 mph in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Biffle’s teammate Matt Kenseth was fourth at 185.319 mph run.
Jeff Gordon had a good run, lapping at 185.307 mph to finish the session in fifth.
The second five was Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Marcos Ambrose.
With two races to go until the field is set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Kasey Kahne holds the first wild-card slot with two race victories and an 11th-place ranking in the points. If 12th-place Carl Edwards can win his first race of the season, he could well move into the second slot currently held by Kyle Busch, who has one victory already.
Likewise, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano each have one victory and could snare the last Chase spot with another victory.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.