Carl Edwards will start from the pole position in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday evening with a time of 14.602 seconds, equalling the previous track record. This is Edwards’ 21st pole in his career. This is also his fourth time at Bristol to start from the pole.
"We didn’t make a mock run. That tells you how great of teammates I have. They’re so fast and they helped us a lot, so we’ll start where we started earlier this year. Hopefully we can put STANLEY in victory lane, but this is going to be a heck of a race. Those are fast laps. That’s a lot of fun. Just proud of my guys – they worked really hard. We rolled the dice and it was fast," said Edwards post-qualifying.
The first round of qualifying started under partly cloudy conditions. After spinning earlier in practice off turn four, Greg Biffle spun off of turn two during this round of qualifying. NASCAR allowed for Biffle’s team to change their flat spotted tires because they were not on a competitive lap at the time of the spin. Denny Hamlin set a new track record at 14.573 seconds around the half-mile concrete oval. Clint Bowyer also spun trying to hit the throttle early to improve on his time from earlier in the session. At the end of the session, Hamlin was fastest at a speed of 131.668 mph, Kyle Busch was second at 131.003 mph, Joey Logano was third at 130.221 mph, Matt Kenseth was fourth at 130.168 mph, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five at a speed of 130.123 mph. The top-26 in this opening round posted times of under 14 seconds around the track. No drivers were sent home. Some notable drivers did not advance to the second round including Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (p25), Tony Stewart (p27), Jamie McMurray (p28), Bowyer (p31), and Biffle (p34).
At the beginning of the second round, shade was creeping onto the concrete oval. Hamlin was the fastest in this round with a speed of 130.295 mph, Kenseth was second at 130.300 mph, Martin Truex Jr. crept into the top five in the third position at 130.247 mph, Blaney was fourth at 129.842 mph, and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five at 129.833 mph. Some notable drivers who did not advance to the third round were Austin Dillon (p13), Kurt Busch, (p14), Jimmie Johnson (p16), and Kevin Harvick (p24). Chris Buescher, who is trying to make the chase, qualified 12th in this round to advance to the final round.
The third round of qualifying saw shade increase. The session started out with Chris Buescher being the first car on track. However, Edwards ended up on top at a speed of 131.407 mph, Hamlin will start second at a speed of 131.200 mph, Ky. Busch was third at a speed of 130.931 mph, Blaney was fourth at a speed of 130.637 mph, and Kenseth rounded out the top five at a speed of 130.619 mph.
The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will be on NBCSN beginning at 7:30 pm eastern on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network will have the radio broadcast beginning at 7 pm eastern.