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Stewart beats Kenseth to pole at Charlotte

Tony Stewart returned to pole position for the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, narrowly beating Matt Kenseth to the top spot by by 0.006s.
Tony Stewart looked to be slipping away after his stunning start to the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup, but he put himself right back into the game at Charlotte Motor Speedway by claiming pole position for the Saturday night Bank of America 500.

"That's a Newman lap there," Stewart said, referring to the much better usual qualifying form of his team mate Ryan Newman. "We've been pretty solid since we unloaded, so that's a perfect way to start the weekend so far."

It's Stewart's 14th career Cup Series pole in his 459th race. His time of 28.131s was an average speed of 191.959mph on the 1.5-mile quad oval, and was just 0.006s or 0.041mph faster than Matt Kenseth, who claimed the other front row position. Kenseth admitted later that he "left some out there" and wished that he'd been able to make a second run at it.

Carl Edwards put himself onto the second row of the grid to make it a top three dominated by Chase contenders. "It's nice to be disappointed with third-place in qualifying," said the Chase points leader, who will start the race alongside AJ Allmendinger. "It seemed very fast in one and two and I struggled in three and four. We're gonna go back and watch the tape. There may be some stuff I can
do better in three and four."

Stewart's team mate Newman (sixth) and a resurgent Jimmie Johnson (ninth) were the only other Chase drivers in the top ten.

"I didn't get the lap that I wanted," said Newman. "Car bottomed out pretty good in one and two. Really proud that we picked up a lot of speed, something we have been lacking here the last couple of weeks."

Kevin Harvick starts from 14th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. just behind him in 15th, with Denny Hamlin in 17th and Kurt Busch starting from 23rd position.

"I think it was pretty good," said Harvick, who is currently one point behind Edwards in the championship battle. "The car drove really good and they done a great job. The car unloaded good, I feel really confident about what we have.”

"I got lose down in the middle of one and two and didn't get back to the gas as soon as in one and two," explained Earnhardt. "Didn't think the lap was that great: hopefully it will hold us, we need a little boost to qualifying."

Jeff Gordon (23rd), Kyle Busch (25th) and Brad Keselowski (26th) were the lowest of the Chase drivers in qualifying.

"We are missing something today," admitted Gordon. "We have been off all day, in practice and we tried to get more out of it there. I thought that lap was better than that, so we will see where it ends up. We certainly gave it our best effort."




Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13 in Concord, N.C. [Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with his wife DeLana, son Keelan, and the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, poses with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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