Almirola tops Edwards for Phoenix Nationwide pole
Avondale, AZ – Aric Almirola claimed the pole for Saturday's Wypall 200 Nationwide Series race after beating Carl Edwards by the slimmest of margins in qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway.
Almirola, who was the second-to-last driver to make a qualifying run in the 47-car field, turned a lap at 132.910 mph around the newly paved and reconfigured one-mile track. He edged Edwards by only 0.001 seconds for his fifth career Nationwide pole but his first since July 2007 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
Edwards has the most Nationwide race wins at Phoenix, including a victory one year ago.
Trevor Bayne, Edwards' teammate at Roush Fenway Racing, qualified third. Bayne won his first race in the series last Saturday at Texas.
Clint Bowyer took the fourth spot, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. and Elliott Sadler.
Justin Allgaier, Ryan Truex, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski completed the top-10.
Points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified 11th. Stenhouse holds a 17-point lead over Sadler heading into the penultimate race of the season. They are the only two drivers who remain in championship contention.
Jennifer Jo Cobb, Carl Long, Josh Wise and Daryl Harr failed to qualify.
The 200-mile race at Phoenix is scheduled to start just after at 3:30 p.m. (et).