Bristol, TN (FOX19) - By: Adam Niemeyer
Carl Edwards won his second consecutive pole of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway with a lap of 14.991 seconds (127.997 mph).
His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth qualified second in a session where JGR Toyotas claimed four of the top-five spots.
"I knew it was a good lap but I didn't know how good it was. These guys are all so fast and this place is so knife-edge, a guy can get a perfect lap and beat you no matter how good your lap is," Edwards said in Victory Lane after winning the pole. "Just really proud of my guys for how fast the car is. For the last two weeks we've had the pole and it's a real testament to our team. The cars are great."
Defending Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin—also JGR teammates of Edwards—qualified fourth and fifth respectively. "JGR is such an amazing organization and they work really well together as a team and they never quit working to make the cars better," said Edwards.
It was Edwards's 18th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series, and he plans on using the benefits of the starting spot—like the first pit stall—to his advantage on Sunday at the half-mile, high-banked speedway in Tennessee.
"I think the pole here is really important," said Edwards, who was the lone driver to crack the 15 second threshold in qualifying. "You saw it last week. We got to start on the pole and you have an advantage on pit road and that track position. I'm really excited for my guys and for our chances.
"I think that pole will help us get to Victory Lane."
Joey Logano will start third. Jimmie Johnson will start sixth ahead of Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger and Knoxville, Tenn. native Trevor Bayne rounded out the top ten.
"Normally, we can make the long-run speed, but to have short run speed and get a good qualifying spot here at Bristol is a big deal," Bayne said. "Track position is always huge."
There was one incident during the first round of the three-round qualifying session when Ty Dillon, substituting in the No. 14 car for the injured Tony Stewart, spun off of turn two and carried down the backstretch into the slowing car of Landon Cassill.
"I really had no inkling it was happening," Cassill said. "If I would have known it was happening I would have stood on the gas, so I didn't really have any idea. I wish I was looking in the mirror or something, but you can't really prepare for anything like that."