INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Carl Edwards won the pole for the Brickyard 400, where passing could be at a premium Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Edwards turned a lap at 183.484 mph Saturday to move to the top starting spot. But he then had to see if two-time race winner and Indiana native Tony Stewart would bump him from the pole.
Stewart was fastest in the first round of qualifying and drew a rousing ovation from the hometown crowd. He was the last driver on the track in the second round of qualifying, and Edwards watched from pit road as Stewart circled the track. The three-time NASCAR champion had to get off the gas in the final turn and wound up fourth.
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''Tony had me nervous,'' said Edwards, who put his Toyota on the pole for the second consecutive week. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver also won the pole last weekend at New Hampshire, where teammate Kyle Busch won for the third time in four races.
JGR last week had three drivers in the top seven and had four of the top five at Kentucky two weeks ago.
Stewart is having the worst season of his career, and returned to his favorite track with just one top-10 finish all season. He acknowledged last month that his confidence is shattered, but said finding speed Saturday gave him a boost.
''That's exactly what I needed,'' he said.
NASCAR is trying a new rules package for Sunday's race in an effort to improve competition at a track where it is notoriously difficult to pass.
Joey Logano, who along with Brad Keselowski is trying to give Roger Penske his first NASCAR win at Indy, qualified second. He went 183.139 mph in his Ford.
David Ragan was third in a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, followed by Stewart and Kyle Larson in a pair of Chevrolets. Stewart teammate Kevin Harvick was sixth and MWR's Clint Bowyer seventh.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eighth in the highest-qualifying Hendrick Motorsports car. Next came Busch, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson.
Ryan Newman's time was disallowed by NASCAR because he did not have a right-side window net in his car when he made his qualifying attempt. He'll start last in the 43-car field.
Jeff Gordon, the defending race winner and a five-time winner at Indy, will start 19th in his final Brickyard 400. Gordon is retiring at the end of the season, and the four-time NASCAR champion was feted Thursday in nearby Pittsboro, where he attended high school and pursued his racing career.
''The thing I'm so disappointed in right now is being that far back. It's going to be a real handful through the corners,'' Gordon said. ''This team is so good and our race car has proven to be good. Just because we're qualifying further back than we want doesn't mean that we can't get it done.''