Edwards beats Montoya to pole

Carl Edwards edged Juan Pablo Montoya to claim his second pole position of the season in qualifying for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond

Edwards beats Montoya to pole

The Roush Fenway driver benefited from a later draw than his Earnhardt Ganassi rival, who had been the second one out on the track to complete his qualifying lap.

Edwards, who had been fastest in the final practice, was the 29th car out and on his second flying lap he improved on Montoya's benchmark by setting a time of 21.133 seconds, at an average speed of 127.762 mph.

"I noticed how fast Juan was down through [Turns] 3 and 4 and just didn't think we'd go that fast," Edwards said after claiming his sixth career pole. "I told [crew chief] Bob [Osborne] it was like a Sunday drive man, it was easy. The car did all the work and that's really cool... We've been focusing a lot on qualifying and it's cool to have a good lap like that."

Montoya improved nearly four tenths of a second from his first to his second qualifying lap and despite locking up the left front under braking for Turn 3, his lap turned out to be very fast.

"I was getting the most out of the car and just braking a little too hard when I turned in and that's it, not a big deal," said Montoya. "I smoked the tyre but it really didn't affect the lap time too much. It made the car a little tight but as long as you keep turning the wheel is fine. It's only one lap.

"I've been complaining a lot about the car all day but it's got plenty of speed."

Richard Petty's AJ Allmendinger was third fastest in his Ford while Clint Bowyer, who is on the verge of securing the final spot in this year's Chase, was fourth fastest ahead of Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann.

Reigning champion and three-time winner at Richmond Jimmie Johnson looked consistent in practice and qualified 11th, while points leader Kevin Harvick was only 20th.

Jeff Green was fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 16th place but five of them were left out of the field, including former Sprint Cup champion and three-time Richmond winner Terry Labonte, who was making a return to NASCAR's top level as a driver and owner alongside Bill Stavola.

Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom showed quick progress in race trim during practice, but struggled in qualifying at the wheel of the #83 Red Bull Toyota and will start 42nd on his oval debut.

Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap 1. Carl Edwards Ford 127.762 21.133s 2. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 127.455 21.184s + 0.051s 3. AJ Allmendinger Ford 127.101 21.243s + 0.110s 4. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 127.077 21.247s + 0.114s 5. David Reutimann Toyota 127.017 21.257s + 0.124s 6. Joey Logano Toyota 126.975 21.264s + 0.131s 7. Paul Menard Ford 126.951 21.268s + 0.135s 8. Brad Keselowski Dodge 126.939 21.270s + 0.137s 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 126.784 21.296s + 0.163s 10. Kasey Kahne Ford 126.767 21.299s + 0.166s 11. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 126.654 21.318s + 0.185s 12. Matt Kenseth Ford 126.505 21.343s + 0.210s 13. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 126.505 21.343s + 0.210s 14. Denny Hamlin Toyota 126.470 21.349s + 0.216s 15. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 126.440 21.354s + 0.221s 16. Jeff Green Ford 126.422 21.357s + 0.224s 17. Regan Smith Chevrolet 126.410 21.359s + 0.226s 18. Casey Mears Toyota 126.369 21.366s + 0.233s 19. Mark Martin Chevrolet 126.345 21.370s + 0.237s 20. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 126.210 21.393s + 0.260s 21. Kurt Busch Dodge 126.133 21.406s + 0.273s 22. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 126.039 21.422s + 0.289s 23. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 126.039 21.422s + 0.289s 24. Greg Biffle Ford 126.027 21.424s + 0.291s 25. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 125.933 21.440s + 0.307s 26. David Ragan Ford 125.845 21.455s + 0.322s 27. Dave Blaney Chevrolet 125.827 21.458s + 0.325s 28. Landon Cassill Chevrolet 125.810 21.461s + 0.328s 29. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 125.745 21.472s + 0.339s 30. Joe Nemechek Toyota 125.716 21.477s + 0.344s 31. Scott Speed Toyota 125.687 21.482s + 0.349s 32. Kyle Busch Toyota 125.564 21.503s + 0.370s 33. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 125.523 21.510s + 0.377s 34. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 125.465 21.520s + 0.387s 35. Jason Leffler Toyota 125.331 21.543s + 0.410s 36. Elliott Sadler Ford 125.284 21.551s + 0.418s 37. Mike Bliss Toyota 125.232 21.560s + 0.427s 38. Travis Kvapil Ford 125.127 21.578s + 0.445s 39. David Gilliland Ford 125.012 21.598s + 0.465s 40. Tony Raines Ford 124.792 21.636s + 0.503s 41. Kevin Conway Toyota 123.899 21.792s + 0.659s 42. Mattias Ekstrom Toyota 123.717 21.824s + 0.691s 43. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Did not qualify: Terry Labonte Chevrolet 124.971 21.605s + 0.472s Michael McDowell Dodge 124.355 21.712s + 0.579s Todd Bodine Toyota 124.292 21.723s + 0.590s Scott Riggs Toyota 124.041 21.767s + 0.634s Brian Keselowski Dodge 122.912 21.967s + 0.834s 
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