Greg Biffle sets Cup qualifying record at Charlotte Motor Speedway

jutter@charlotteobserver.comOctober 12, 2012 

  • Tracking the Chase Pos. DriverStart 1. Brad Keselowski20 2. Jimmie Johnson2 3. Denny Hamlin9 4. Kasey Kahne10 5. Clint Bowyer4 6. Jeff Gordon13 7. Tony Stewart32 8. Martin Truex Jr.6

— 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.”

Thursday’s Qualifying

Pos.No.DriverCarSpeed
1.16Greg BiffleFord193.708
2.55Mark MartinToyota193.361
3.39Ryan NewmanChevy193.251
4.15Clint BowyerToyota193.043
5.48Jimmie JohnsonChevy192.995
6.56Martin Truex Jr.Toyota192.919
7.17Matt KensethFord192.885
8.18Kyle BuschToyota192.85
9.11Denny HamlinToyota192.802
10.5Kasey KahneChevy192.644
11.29Kevin HarvickChevy192.637
12.20Joey LoganoToyota192.561
13.24Jeff GordonChevy192.212
14.22Sam Hornish Jr.Dodge191.666
15.47Bobby LabonteToyota191.605
16.21Trevor BayneFord191.293
17.43Aric AlmirolaFord191.286
18.9Marcos AmbroseFord191.279
19.99Carl EdwardsFord191.245
20.2Brad KeselowskiDodge191.232
21.78Kurt BuschChevy191.225
22.42Juan Pablo MontoyaChevy190.691
23.95Scott SpeedFord190.691
24.27Paul MenardChevy190.617
25.34David RaganFord190.382
26.88Regan SmithChevy190.181
27.13Casey MearsFord190.027
28.19Mike BlissToyota190.027
29.6Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford189.987
30.1Jamie McMurrayChevy189.867
31.30David StremmeToyota189.687
32.14Tony StewartChevy189.587
33.98Michael McDowellFord189.587
34.10David ReutimannChevy189.52
35.37J.J. YeleyChevy189.341
36.38David GillilandFord189.255
37.83Landon CassillToyota189.168
38.51A J AllmendingerChevy189.142
39.31Jeff BurtonChevy188.469
40.32Timmy HillFord188.225
41.93Travis KvapilToyotaOwnPts
42.36Dave BlaneyChevyOwnPts
43.91Reed SorensonToyota189.102
Failed to Qualify
44.87Joe NemechekToyota188.937
45.26Josh WiseFord187.123
46.23Scott RiggsChevy184.989
47.33Cole WhittChevy183.517

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