Menard claims pole for Sprint Showdown

Concord, NC ( - Paul Menard will start on the pole for Friday night's Sprint Showdown -- the 40-lap preliminary event for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race -- after topping the qualifying charts at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Menard, who drives the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, turned a lap at 189.673 mph to earn the top starting position for the showdown. Qualifying consisted of two rounds, with the top-12 from the opening round advancing into the final segment.

Greg Biffle qualified second with a lap at 189.660 mph. David Ragan took the third spot, followed by Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson.

Seventh through 12th were: Martin Truex Jr., Danica Patrick, Casey Mears, Michael McDowell, Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The winners of the first 20-lap segment and the second 20-lap segment in the showdown will advance to Saturday night's all-star race. The winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will be announced after the conclusion of the showdown, with that driver securing the final eligible position in the 20-car field for the all-star race.