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Edwards and Biffle claim Daytona front row

Roush Fenway Racing locked out the front row for next Sunday's running of the Daytona 500, with Carl Edwards on pole by 0.155s from team mate Greg Biffle.
Carl Edwards will start next Sunday's Daytona 500 from pole position, and his Roush Fenway Racing team mate Greg Biffle will start alongside him on the front row, after they set the fastest times in the weekend's qualifying session at Daytona International Speedway.

"I didn't really consider the pole as something that was a possibility, so this is huge," said a delighted Edwards, who achieved a time of 46.216s (194.738mph) on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. "It's neat to come down here and to be so fast and to really have fun qualifying here."

"We're so excited to have two of our cars on the front row," agreed Biffle, who had been favourite for a strong qualifying after topping both the practice sessions on Saturday but missed out on pole to his team mate by 0.155s. "A team effort all around."

It's the first time that Edwards will start the Daytona 500 from pole, and the first time that team owner Jack Roush has locked out the front row of the grid for the Great American Race. However, there's a note of caution from history: the last time the polesitter went on to win the race was back in 2000, when Dale Jarrett managed it.

Under Speedweeks' uniquely convoluted qualifying process, the remaining positions for the starting grid of the race are yet to be finalised. Today's qualifying session only set the front row, and the rest of the Daytona 500 grid will in fact be set by the results of Thursday evening's Gatorade Duel races.

However, today's qualifying did also decide the first four cars guaranteed a place on the starting grid that were not already locked in by 2011 car owner points. Trevor Bayne was the highest-placed non-guaranteed driver with the ninth fastest time of the day of 46.484s (193.615mph) and will now definitely make the start of the Daytona 500.

"This Wood Brothers team worked so hard this off-season to find us some speed and it showed today," said last year's shock race winner, who turned 21 today. "To be able to know today we're in the race is a load off everyone's mind and now we can concentrate on getting our car race ready for next Sunday."

Tony Raines and David Stremme are also locked in, as is Terry Labonte thanks to a champion's provisional.

"I can't tell you how huge this is for us to get into the 500," said Stremme, running for the small-scale Inception Motorsports team at Daytona. "We have like eight full-time crew members!"

But Kenny Wallace, Dave Blaney, Michael Waltrip, Joe Nenechek, Bill Elliott, Mike Wallace, Robert Richardson Jr., Robby Gordon and JJ Yeley will still have to win places in the Daytona 500 depending on their performances in Thursday's Gatorade Duel races.




Related Pictures

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Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Byane turned 21 earlier in the day. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Pole position winner Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, poses with his Roush Fenway Racing team mate and 2nd position starter Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford on pit road at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, poses after qualifying for the pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the #55 Fronius USA/Viva Auto Group Chevrolet, spins out during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Team XTREME Racing #44 entry - driven in the Daytona 500 by Reed Sorenson (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, interim driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in sixteenth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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