CONCORD — Greg Biffle began the season with three third-place finishes.
Once he started the Chase, he hoped for a similar performance.
Perhaps his pole-winning qualifying run Thursday night can help jump-start this year’s title chase.
Biffle set a track record with a lap at 193.708 mph to earn the stop starting position for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Elliott Sadler set the previous track record of 193.216 mph Oct. 13, 2005.
The pole is Biffle’s third of the season, 12th of his career and first at Charlotte.
“We’ve been working so hard. We’ve been down in the dumps a little bit because we haven’t started off this Chase as strong as we’ve been all season,” Biffle said.
“We’ve been at six race tracks in the last two weeks between testing and everything else we’re doing in racing. This is exciting for Saturday night.”
Biffle expects near-perfect conditions for the race, much as there was Thursday night.
“When it gets cool, this place gets fast,” he said. “The track has a lot of grip.
“I was sitting in my (motorhome) waiting for qualifying to end and I heard them talking on TV about the track record. I kept thinking, ‘Nobody will get there tonight’ and I certainly didn’t think it would be me.”
Four races into the 10-race Chase, Biffle trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 49 points. He is not mathematically eliminated from the championship, but the road ahead is very difficult.
Mark Martin qualified second-fastest, Ryan Newman was third, with Clint Bowyer fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth. Keselowski will line up 20th.
“Qualifying hasn’t been our strong suit this year,” said Keselowski, who holds a 14-point advantage over Johnson. “I don’t have an answer why.”
Three drivers debuted with new teams.
Kurt Busch, driving Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 Chevrolet for the first time, qualified 21st-fastest. Regan Smith, substituting for injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., will line up 26th and A.J. Allmendinger, with Phoenix Racing, will start 38th.
“It was not as good as we hoped for,” Smith said. “I felt like after practice we were going to have a shot at definitely a top-10 and maybe a little better.”
|6.||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||192.919|
|14.||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||191.666|
|22.||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevy||190.691|
|29.||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||189.987|
|38.||51||A J Allmendinger||Chevy||189.142|
|Failed to Qualify|