Carl Edwards will lead the field to the green flag for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team advanced their way to the final round of Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday evening, and when it all mattered, was able to lay down the fastest lap.
“Just awesome,” Edwards said. “This place is really complicated and my guys did a good job making the car drive well on all different segments.”
It’s his 18th career pole, and his second straight pole award of the 2016 season. Those numbers may seem impressive, but to Edwards, it means much more.
Earlier in the day during his media availability, Edwards mentioned that for every pole he gets, Miller Coors will donate $1,000 to Speedway Children’s Charities. And if the No. 19 car manages to get six poles, they will donate $25,000, putting a big drive for Edwards to capture poles not only for himself, but for a good cause.
“For me, for Miller Coors to come on board and do that, just out of the goodness of their hearts, that’s really cool,” said Edwards.
The first round of qualifying featured a bizarre wreck between Ty Dillon and Landon Cassill. Cassill was slowing down after completing his run, as Dillon was on track on his hot lap. Dillon clipped the apron coming out of Turn 2, and slid all the way down the straightaway into the back of Cassill.
“I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking in my mirrors,” said Cassill. “So, if I would have seen a car sideways at the right time I probably would have tried to speed up. Bad timing on my part, I guess.”
Matt Kenseth wound up second in the final round of qualifying and will start on the front row with Edwards for Sunday’s race.
“We just got loose that last round, we got everything I thought we could out of it,” said Kenseth. “I don’t think I could get any better lap then what we had. You want to be on the pole, but if you can’t be you obviously want to be second.”
Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger, and Trevor Bayne round of the rest of the top-10 starting lineup.
Sunday’s Food City 500 is set to get the green flag at around 1 p.m. on FOX.