Concord, NC – Carl Edwards will start on the pole for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race after posting the quickest time in Friday's qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Edwards, who won the all-star event in 2011, completed his three laps around this 1.5-mile racetrack and performed his mandatory four-tire pit in 1 minute, 51.297 seconds. It will be the first time the Roush Fenway Racing driver will start on the pole for this race.
Earlier this week, NASCAR officials announced that a speed limit would not be enforced when a driver enters or exits pit road during his qualifying attempt. Those drivers participating in qualifying were running at speeds more than 150 mph on pit road.
"It was petrifying," Edwards said of the pit road speeds during qualifying and practice earlier in the day. "It was insane during practice. It felt like a war out there or something. It was crazy. Everybody was trying to practice, and there was really no oversight or management of all of us ... It was fun, and I wish we did this thing more often."
The excessive speeds caused problems for several drivers during their pit stops, including Jimmie Johnson, the defending all-star race winner, and Kevin Harvick.
Johnson overshot his pit box and had to back it up, which lost him valuable time. He also was hit with a five-second penalty for a loose lug nut. Johnson will start 18th in the 22-car field, with his time in 2:04.462.
Harvick also slid across the line in his pit area. His crew had already jumped over the pit wall to begin work on the car when he was in reverse and still not completely in the box. That disqualified Harvick's time, putting him in the 19th starting position.
Kurt Busch, who won the pole for last weekend's race at Darlington, earned the outside pole with a time of 1:52.447. Busch won the all-star race in 2010.
"To unload and have a good practice session and then to execute coming onto pit road at 157 mph is pretty wild," Busch said. "It was fun. Thanks to (NASCAR officials) Mike Helton, (John) Darby and (Robin) Pemberton for coming up with that rules change. When I first heard about it, I was excited. I gave it my best effort. We were right there."
Greg Biffle qualified third, while Kyle Busch and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Kyle Busch had won the pole for this event the previous two years.
Clint Bowyer took the sixth spot, followed by Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt Jr. originally had the second-best qualifying time, but Earnhardt was assessed a five-second penalty for a missing lug nut during his stop, dropping him to the 15th starting spot.
The first 19 positions were determined in qualifying. The top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown (40-lap preliminary race) will advance into the all-star event. And the last spot will go to the winner of the fan vote.
In qualifying for the Sprint Showdown, Martin Truex Jr. topped the charts at 193.424 mph. Truex has won the Showdown twice in the past to advance into the main event (2007 and '10).
Jamie McMurray qualified second, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Casey Mears. Danica Patrick took the seventh spot.
During the weekend at Charlotte, NASCAR teams are paying tribute to former driver Dick Trickle, who was found dead on Thursday in Boger City, N.C. from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71. Trickle, a Wisconsin native, competed in 303 races over a 24-year period in NASCAR's premier series. He also was a short-track ace, winning more than 1,000 stock car racing events throughout the Midwest.
Edwards had his team inscribe "Dick Trickle" where Edwards normally has his name printed on the driver's side of his No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford. Several crew members from the No. 99, including crew chief Jimmy Fennig, hail from Wis.
"This is to honor (Trickle's) family," Edwards said. "There's a lot of guys from Wisconsin on my team. Greg Emmer (road mechanic/front hose specialist) from my team called me last night and said that we've got to do something for Dick Trickle. He's a hero to all of us guys. We're just hoping his family is doing alright."
Saturday's Sprint Showdown is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. (ET), and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is slated to begin at approximately 9 p.m.