Greg Biffle takes second pole of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Darlington

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Greg Biffle beat Jimmie Johnson to pole position for Saturday's 500-mile race at Darlington

Greg Biffle takes second pole of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Darlington

The Roush Fenway Racing driver just edged the Hendrick Motorsports racer with a lap of 27.281 seconds, at an average speed of 180.257 mph, to claim his second pole of 2012, having started from the top spot earlier this season at Bristol.

Biffle, a two-time Darlington winner, had been second fastest in the first practice session behind Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, also running second best in final practice behind Penske's AJ Allmendinger.

The former Truck and Nationwide Series champion joked after his run that his qualifying effort was almost hampered by a small balloon flying in front of him as he was set to start his first flying lap.

"It may sound stupid but that red balloon over there caught me more off-guard than anything," said Biffle. "I gave up in Turn 4, saw this thing in the middle of the track and almost lost concentration.

"But that was a pretty on-edge lap. I felt like I left a lot on the table on Turns 1 and 2 but I guess I got through [Turns] 3 and 4 pretty good."

Johnson beat Hendrick team-mate Kasey Kahne to second despite setting identical teams by virtue of his better ranking in the points standings. The five-time champion was the first of at least five cars to brush the wall in the opening practice, getting the traditional 'Darlington stripe'.

A third Hendrick-built Chevy, Ryan Newman's Stewart-Haas Impala, was fourth fastest ahead of the Toyotas of Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr.

Roush's Carl Edwards was seventh ahead of pre-race favourite Denny Hamlin, who ran very consistent laps during the second practice, showing strong race pace in his JGR Toyota Camry. Last year's surprise winner Regan Smith and RCR's Jeff Burton rounded out the top 10 in qualifying.

Scott Speed, making his third start of the season, was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 29th, while Danica Patrick will line up 38th for her second Cup race, her first at Darlington.

Scott Riggs, Michael McDowell, Stephen Leicht and Mike Bliss failed to make the field.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 27.281s 2. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 27.386s + 0.105s 3. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 27.386s + 0.105s 4. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 27.402s + 0.121s 5. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 27.404s + 0.123s 6. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 27.424s + 0.143s 7. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 27.427s + 0.146s 8. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 27.444s + 0.163s 9.  Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 27.451s + 0.170s 10. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 27.458s + 0.177s 11. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 27.459s + 0.178s 12. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 27.461s + 0.180s 13. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 27.474s + 0.193s 14. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 27.484s + 0.203s 15. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 27.500s + 0.219s 16. AJ Allmendinger Penske Dodge 27.506s + 0.225s 17. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 27.515s + 0.234s 18. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 27.551s + 0.270s 19. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 27.592s + 0.311s 20. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 27.613s + 0.332s 21. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 27.630s + 0.349s 22. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 27.631s + 0.350s 23. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 27.635s + 0.354s 24. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 27.642s + 0.361s 25. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet 27.651s + 0.370s 26. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 27.661s + 0.380s 27. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 27.735s + 0.454s 28. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 27.794s + 0.513s 29. Scott Speed Go Green Ford 27.802s + 0.521s 30. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 27.823s + 0.542s 31. Casey Mears Germain Ford 27.825s + 0.544s 32. David Stremme Inception Toyota 27.845s + 0.564s 33. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 27.847s + 0.566s 34. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 27.857s + 0.576s 35. Mike Skinner Hamilton Means Toyota 27.957s + 0.676s 36. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 27.978s + 0.697s 37. David Ragan Front Row Ford 28.004s + 0.723s 38. Danica Patrick Baldwin Chevrolet 28.021s + 0.740s 39. Cole Whitt Turn One Chevrolet 28.021s + 0.740s 40. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 28.097s + 0.816s 41. David Reutimann BK Toyota 28.196s + 0.915s 42. Reed Sorenson FAS Lane Ford 28.307s + 1.026s 43. JJ Yeley Robinson Blakeney Toyota 28.125s + 0.844s Did not qualify: Scott Riggs R3 Chevrolet 28.129s + 0.848s Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 28.144s + 0.863s Stephen Leicht Joe Falk Chevrolet 28.155s + 0.874s Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.157s + 0.876s 
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Series NASCAR
Drivers Greg Biffle
Author Diego Mejía
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