HAMPTON, Ga. — All Ricky Stenhouse Jr. needed to do to win his first pole in the Sprint Cup Series was listen to his team owner, Jack Roush.
Before his run Friday night late in the qualifying order, Roush told Stenhouse the low line around the track would be the fastest.
Yet Stenhouse had doubts – Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick and Juan Pablo Montoya had all run before him and run significantly faster than their practice speeds using the high line around the track.
Stenhouse stuck with Roush’s suggestion, and his lap at 189.688 mph was good enough to knock off Edwards and claim the No. 1 starting position for Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I was so confused whether to run the bottom or top, but I stuck with our plan to run the bottom that Jack actually gave me,” Stenhouse said.
“We’re getting better and better. I felt our last run (in practice) was really good and I thought we had a shot at good, solid top 10 and going out late definitely increases your chances.”
Edwards qualified second, Montoya was third, Denny Hamlin was fourth and Jeff Gordon was fifth. Series points leader Jimmie Johnson will line up 10th.
Newman more confident of 2014 Cup ride
Ryan Newman said Friday he feels “more confident” he will have a full-time ride in the Cup series in 2014.
I have nothing obviously to announce but my focus is on these next two races,” said Newman, who still has a chance to make the Chase.
“I do have a different focus on 2014, but that won’t happen this weekend or next weekend, it will happen during the week.”
Bobby Labonte recovering at home
NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte is home recovering from three broken ribs suffered Wednesday in a cycling accident near his home.
Labonte sat out this weekend’s race at Atlanta, where he was scheduled to drive for Phoenix Racing. Labonte’s status for next weekend’s race at Richmond, Va. – where he is scheduled to run in JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Toyota – remains uncertain.