Biffle Blazes to Darlington Pole
DARLINGTON, S.C. - Greg Biffle shattered the Darlington Raceway qualifying record en route to capturing his fifth career pole with a fast lap of 179.442 mph on the 1.366-mile track's new surface.
Biffle, who has won two of the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Darlington, was one of 41 drivers to eclipse Ward Burton's 1996 record of 173.797 mph.
With his first Darlington pole in the books, Biffle is now looking forward to Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500.
"I'm extremely happy with it in race trim," Biffle said. "I can't wait until tomorrow night."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his fourth top five start since joining Hendrick Motorsports after he drove his retro Mountain Dew Chevrolet to a lap of 179.357 mph.
"We just got a good, clean lap in and kept it off the fence trying to give us a good shot for tomorrow," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We've got a great car. We've had one all weekend."
Jimmie Johnson bounced back after having to go to a back-up car when he hit the Turn 1 wall in today's practice to post the third best lap in qualifying at 179.206 mph.
"I'm speechless myself, with the equipment these guys give me week in and week out," said Johnson, who also hit the wall with his back-up car in the final practice. "Fortunately today we were fast the whole time, but I kept hitting things. I'm just glad I got that out of my way and I got a good clean lap in."
Tony Stewart notched his best starting position at Darlington based on time after he qualified his No. 20 Toyota in fourth with a lap of 179.076 mph.
"I'm ecstatic with this," Stewart said. "It's faster than I ran - luckily. Knock on wood, I haven't put a scratch on this car."
Kurt Busch qualified fifth in the Miller Lite Dodge to give each manufacturer a spot in the top five. Busch's younger brother and series points leader, Kyle, will start sixth.
Dave Blaney was the fastest of the drivers required to qualify on time in 13th.
"The car had more in it there, but in our position you've got to be a little conservative and I was," Blaney said." That will be a decent starting spot still."
A number of drivers brushed or made contact with the wall during their qualifying lap with Kasey Kahne taking the hardest hit. Kahne's No. 9 Dodge was unable to record a lap after the contact and he will start 42nd.
"The front end took off and slid into the wall," Kahne said. "I just drove too hard. I tired to drive it like I did in practice and I didn't have enough grip."
Johnny Sauter and Jeff Green, who both broke the track record, failed to make the field for the 367-lap race.
Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500 will take the green flag at 7:30 p.m. (ET) live on FOX and MRN Radio.
- DENNY HAMLIN AND SPORT CLIPS TO HONOR MILITARY AT FT. BRAGG, UNVEIL "THROWBACK" SCHEME FOR DARLINGTON RACE WEEKEND
- NASCAR NATIONAL SERIES TRACKS TO OFFER FREE YOUTH TICKETING FOR NASCAR XFINITY & NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACES IN 2017
- SOUTH CAROLINA’S OWN AND NASCAR HALL OF FAME MEMBER CALE YARBOROUGH TO SERVE AS BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500 HONORARY PACE CAR DRIVER
- VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500 THROWBACK PAINT SCHEME ON NASCAR.COM
- NASCAR HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES RICHARD CHILDRESS, RICK HENDRICK, MARK MARTIN TO SERVE AS BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500 GRAND MARSHALS