As soon as his pit crew told him the lap time he'd just posted - 27.877s (193.708mph) on the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway quad-oval - Greg Biffle was ecstatic.
"I was sitting in my motor home earlier watching the broadcast and I heard 'em say what the track record was," he said. "So I knew at that point it was a track record, so I was pretty excited about it. And I knew it was going to take a lot to beat it."
The previous lap record (27.948s, 193.216mph) had been set by Elliott Sadler in October 2005 and the top three men in qualifying on Thursday afternoon - Biffle, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman - all beat that benchmark. But it was Biffle who came out of it with pole.
"I was super excited about that lap because I drove it farther into Turn 1 than I thought would work," he said afterwards. "These cars won't go much faster than that, it was a perfect lap, and I hit all my marks just right on the button."
It's a much-needed boost for Biffle and for Roush Fenway Racing, which have struggled with the first four races of the 2012 Chase and now find themselves in danger of dropping out of the running altogether unless they can score some big successes.
"We've kind of been down in the dumps a little bit because we haven't started out this Chase as strong as we've been all season," Biffle admitted, saying that a packed schedule of testing and racing on six different race tracks in the last two weeks had helped get them back into shape. "We got home last night from Texas, learned a little bit. It helped us here, I think."
The ever-youthful veteran Mark Martin will join Biffle on the front row after missing out on the pole time by five hundredths of a second.
"Everything was dragging, scraping, making noises, smoking, and I smelled rubber, so I said: 'Man, we are rolling,'" said Martin. "I went down into turn 1, and I was just going so fast."
While Martin is not in the Chase this year after dropping back to a part-time involvement in the Cup series, his Michael Waltrip Racing team mates - Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. - both are, and qualified in fourth and sixth place respectively to line up right behind Martin for the green flag on Saturday night' for the start of the Bank of America 500.