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Atlanta: Cup qualifying

31 August 2013

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start from pole position for Sunday's AdvoCare 500 night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, after he posted a time of 29.227s (189.688mph) late in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying on Friday at the 1.54-mile superspeedway.

It's the 25-year-old's first pole position in Cup racing in his 30th series start and his rookie season in the championship. He'll start alongside his more experienced Roush Fenway Racing team mate Carl Edwards, who ended up a tenth of a second slower than Stenhouse in his run.

Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya claimed third spot for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, on the day that his successor in the #42 car for 2014 had been unveiled as 21-year-old Nationwide Series rookie Kyle Larson. (See separate story.)

The track had grown faster and faster as the evening wore on and the conditions grew cooler. That meant that early pace setter Kyle Busch was ultimately pushed down to ninth place by the succession of increasingly fast laps as the track gained grip. Busch had eventually been deposed by his Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Denny Hamlin, who ended up in fourth place on the final grid behind Montoya.

That's despite Hamlin revealing earlier on Friday that he had been injured in the same wreck that broke Martin Truex Jr.'s wrist last weekend at Bristol. The driver told SiriusXM/NASCAR that his hand had been trapped in the steering wheel during his late-race accident in the night event and that he's wearing a splint on his thumb for this week's track activity in Atlanta.

"I couldn't get my finger out of the wheel quick enough before it spun, and it obviously took some ligaments with it," Hamlin said. "I feel this pain, and it's going to be tough. I tested on Monday and Tuesday at Chicago, and I couldn't put my thumb on the wheel."

Hamlin was quick to say that it was no where near as serious as Truex's injury and that it was just a bad sprain. The thumb, currently black and blue from bruising, should heal in about two weeks. It's the latest setback for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver in 2013 after he missed three races after Easter because of an injury to his back in a wreck at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California at the end of March which effectively ruined his hopes of making this year's Chase.

Truex himself ended up in seventh place at the end of qualifying. All 43 cars entered for the race made it onto the grid for Sunday's race. Mike Bliss - standing in for the injured Bobby Labonte at short notice - put the #51 Phoenix Racing car into 38th place in the speed trials.

Qualifying times

1. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 29.227s (Pole) 189.688mph
2. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 29.330s (+ 0.103s) 189.021mph
3. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 29.405s (+ 0.178s) 188.539mph
4. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 29.406s (+ 0.179s) 188.533mph
5. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 29.481s (+ 0.254s) 188.053mph
6. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 29.492s (+ 0.265s) 187.983mph
7. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 29.499s (+ 0.272s) 187.939mph
8. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 29.565s (+ 0.338s) 187.519mph
9. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 29.570s (+ 0.343s) 187.487mph
10. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 29.572s (+ 0.345s) 187.475mph
11. #22 Joey Logano Ford 29.580s (+ 0.353s) 187.424mph
12. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 29.616s (+ 0.389s) 187.196mph
13. #47 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 29.646s (+ 0.419s) 187.007mph
14. #34 David Ragan Ford 29.658s (+ 0.431s) 186.931mph
15. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 29.689s (+ 0.462s) 186.736mph
16. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 29.699s (+ 0.472s) 186.673mph
17. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 29.714s (+ 0.487s) 186.579mph
18. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 29.719s (+ 0.492s) 186.547mph
19. #13 Casey Mears Ford 29.731s (+ 0.504s) 186.472mph
20. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 29.760s (+ 0.533s) 186.290mph
21. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 29.789s (+ 0.562s) 186.109mph
22. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 29.829s (+ 0.602s) 185.859mph
23. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 29.851s (+ 0.624s) 185.722mph
24. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 29.872s (+ 0.645s) 185.592mph
25. #30 David Stremme Toyota 29.903s (+ 0.676s) 185.399mph
26. #33 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 29.914s (+ 0.687s) 185.331mph
27. #14 Mark Martin Chevrolet 29.929s (+ 0.702s) 185.238mph
28. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 29.957s (+ 0.730s) 185.065mph
29. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 29.986s (+ 0.759s) 184.886mph
30. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 30.011s (+ 0.784s) 184.732mph
31. #38 David Gilliland Ford 30.045s (+ 0.818s) 184.523mph
32. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 30.049s (+ 0.822s) 184.499mph
33. #35 Josh Wise Ford 30.072s (+ 0.845s) 184.358mph
34. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 30.175s (+ 0.948s) 183.728mph
35. #95 Scott Speed Ford 30.337s (+ 1.110s) 182.747mph
36. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 30.392s (+ 1.165s) 182.416mph
37. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 30.426s (+ 1.199s) 182.213mph
38. #51 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 30.473s (+ 1.246s) 181.932mph
39. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 30.550s (+ 1.323s) 181.473mph
40. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 30.593s (+ 1.366s) 181.218mph
41. #32 Timmy Hill Ford 30.863s (+ 1.636s) 179.633mph
42. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 30.994s (+ 1.767s) 178.873mph
43. #98 Michael McDowell Ford No time

Practice 1 times

1. #2 Brad Keselowski Ford 29.168s (Leader) 190.071mph (26 laps)
2. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 29.294s (-0.126s) 189.254mph (14 laps)
3. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 29.456s (-0.288s) 188.213mph (20 laps)
4. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 29.482s (-0.314s) 188.047mph (18 laps)
5. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 29.491s (-0.323s) 187.990mph (24 laps)
6. #22 Joey Logano Ford 29.591s (-0.423s) 187.354mph (26 laps)
7. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 29.600s (-0.432s) 187.297mph (11 laps)
8. #14 Mark Martin Chevrolet 29.610s (-0.442s) 187.234mph (20 laps)
9. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 29.619s (-0.451s) 187.177mph (16 laps)
10. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 29.633s (-0.465s) 187.089mph (20 laps)
11. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 29.647s (-0.479s) 187.000mph (30 laps)
12. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 29.693s (-0.525s) 186.711mph (24 laps)
13. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 29.780s (-0.612s) 186.165mph (14 laps)
14. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 29.799s (-0.631s) 186.047mph (13 laps)
15. #55 Brian Vickers Toyota 29.806s (-0.638s) 186.003mph (17 laps)
16. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 29.814s (-0.646s) 185.953mph (9 laps)
17. #47 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 29.824s (-0.656s) 185.891mph (22 laps)
18. #43 Aric Almirola Ford 29.843s (-0.675s) 185.772mph (8 laps)
19. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 29.858s (-0.690s) 185.679mph (11 laps)
20. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 29.911s (-0.743s) 185.350mph (32 laps)
21. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 29.918s (-0.750s) 185.307mph (23 laps)
22. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 29.920s (-0.752s) 185.294mph (22 laps)
23. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 29.926s (-0.758s) 185.257mph (7 laps)
24. #51 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 29.936s (-0.768s) 185.195mph (10 laps)
25. #30 David Stremme Toyota 30.006s (-0.838s) 184.763mph (11 laps)
26. #38 David Gilliland Ford 30.031s (-0.863s) 184.609mph (20 laps)
27. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 30.044s (-0.876s) 184.529mph (17 laps)
28. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 30.048s (-0.880s) 184.505mph (26 laps)
29. #34 David Ragan Ford 30.054s (-0.886s) 184.468mph (24 laps)
30. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 30.120s (-0.952s) 184.064mph (7 laps)
31. #83 David Reutimann Toyota 30.176s (-1.008s) 183.722mph (7 laps)
32. #33 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 30.205s (-1.037s) 183.546mph (14 laps)
33. #13 Casey Mears Ford 30.276s (-1.108s) 183.115mph (13 laps)
34. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 30.304s (-1.136s) 182.946mph (13 laps)
35. #36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 30.348s (-1.180s) 182.681mph (2 laps)
36. #35 Josh Wise Ford 30.556s (-1.388s) 181.437mph (4 laps)
37. #40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 30.636s (-1.468s) 180.964mph (11 laps)
38. #95 Scott Speed Ford 30.683s (-1.515s) 180.686mph (6 laps)
39. #32 Timmy Hill Ford 30.704s (-1.536s) 180.563mph (5 laps)
40. #93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 30.715s (-1.547s) 180.498mph (14 laps)
41. #98 Michael McDowell Ford 30.848s (-1.680s) 179.720mph (7 laps)
42. #7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 31.108s (-1.940s) 178.218mph (8 laps)
43. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 31.138s (-1.970s) 178.046mph (6 laps)


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