Greg Biffle's qualifying lap of 27.873s on the 1.5-mile quad-oval Texas Motor Speedway was enough to put him ahead of his Roush Fenway team mate David Ragan for pole position. By one thousandth of a second.

"One one-thousandth of a second is not a huge margin to beat David by!" admitted Biffle after qualifying. "It was a great lap for us. Our car was really, really fast right off the truck. That's just a tribute to my team and how hard they've worked and how far we've come as a team this season. It was a great lap.

It's Biffle's third pole position of the year - tying him with Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman for most poles in 2011 - and the ninth in his Cup career of 328 starts. It's the first time he will have started from pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Ragan was left ruing the near miss, but said: "I'd rather a teammate beat me than anybody else. At least it stays in the family, but anytime you're close to a pole you want it bad.

"If I get beat by one-thousandth I'm still mad, so, obviously, it's cool to sit on poles, but it's even cooler to have fast race cars and have a good starting spot for Sunday and that's what we did," he continued. "This is just the start of the weekend and I'm proud that we got a good qualifying effort and I can't wait until Sunday."

Matt Kenseth was only a hundredth of a second behind to make it a Roush Fenway 1-2-3, despite insisting that "I wasn't real happy with it in qualifying trim.

"We just missed the balance a little bit and I couldn't keep the gas down as long as I needed to ... I just didn't quite get it," he added. "I think it's okay. In race trim we were okay."

Kenseth's own Chase hopes were dealt a blow at last week's race at Martinsville, but he insists that it's not over for him just yet. "There are three races left," he pointed out. "We're down but not out and we're gonna go work as hard as we can, try to run up front, try to win some races and hopefully climb back in it."

But he's now 36pts off the championship leader - who is the fourth RFR driver, Carl Edwards, who managed to qualify in seventh place for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 Cup race.

"We focused hard on qualifying here. We had an opportunity to go out there and sit on the pole ... We wanted to be a little better than that," admitted Edwards, who will start a row behind his closest Cup challenger, Tony Stewart. "I came to the green and I was a little loose. I thought, 'I better be a little careful my next time through here,' and I was probably a little too timid down there through three and four, but it is a good starting spot."

As for starting behind Stewart, Edwards wasn't bothered: "Five hundred miles, we'll see what happens," he said. "You couldn't pick a better place to come to to just race it out. This is gonna be a good one. I love this place."

Among the other main Chase contenders still in with a realistic chance of challenging Edwards for the title, Brad Keselowski qualified in eighth place alongside Edwards on the starting grid. Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson just missed out on the top ten and will start from the sixth row, while Kevin Harvick struggled to a distant 21st and needs better fortune with his race set-up.

David Reutimann - who was shocked this week to be dropped as driver of the #00 in 2012 by Michael Waltrip Racing - qualified in sixth place for Sunday's race. David Stremme, David Starr and Reed Sorenson all failed to qualify for the 43-car grid.

There will be two practice sessions at Texas on Saturday, allowing the drivers to concentrate on race set-up ahead of the five hundred mile race on Sunday afternoon.

"That definitely can be something we can focus on," agreed Biffle. "We kind of anticipate that tomorrow is all race trim and getting the car to drive really well is the most important thing.

"We've got to keep an eye on weather and all those things in case it looks like we might lose some practice and it forces our hand to practice some today in race trim, but that didn't look like it was gonna be an issue, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Other NASCAR events at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend include the "O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge" Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon featuring the return to stock cars of Danica Patrick now that she has finished her IndyCar career; and the "WinStar World Casino 350k" Camping World Truck Series race on Friday evening.

Full qualifying times and positions available.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment