Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Carl Edwards edged Brad Keselowski for the pole, while championship leaders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth finished third and sixth, respectively, in Friday's qualifying for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Edwards, who is currently 10th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship point standings, turned a lap at 196.114 mph on this fast 1.5-mile oval. It was just a tick slower than the track record of 196.299 mph, set by Kyle Busch in April. He claimed his 13th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series, including his second pole this season and the first at Texas. The Roush Fenway Racing driver holds the record for most wins in the series at this track with three.
"This is huge," Edwards said. "I have wanted the pole here so badly for so long. It's just really cool."
Keselowski's lap at 196.100 mph was just 0.002 seconds behind Edwards' lap. Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, won the most recent race on a 1.5-mile track three weeks ago at Charlotte.
"We had a really decent lap for sure, but I thought I left a little bit out there," Keselowski said. "We have a great starting spot for here, which is so important. Track position is important for the pit stalls. You want to have a good pit stall here because that can be the whole race for you."
Edwards and Keselowski gave Ford a sweep of the front starting row for Sunday's 500-mile race here.
With three races to go in the Chase, Kenseth and Johnson are tied in points with 2,294 apiece. Johnson, who won last year's Chase race at Texas, posted a lap at 195.943 mph. The five-time series champion ran high up the track coming out of turn 4 during his run. His right-rear quarter panel scraped the wall, causing no significant damage.
"I think the lap time was reasonable," Johnson said. "You saw the effort needed to keep it off the fence. It was slippery out there. We went faster than we did in practice."
Johnson and Kenseth made their qualifying runs early in the session, with Johnson seventh in the order and Kenseth eighth.
"I'm fairly satisfied with that," Kenseth said of his qualifying lap, which was clocked at 195.518 mph. "We're going to work on race trim (Saturday in final practice) and get it driving good for Sunday when it really counts."
Paul Menard qualified fourth, while Busch, who won the spring race here, took the fifth spot. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, the winner of last Sunday's event at Martinsville, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Marcos Ambrose completed the top-10.
Gordon is presently third in points (-27), followed by Kevin Harvick (-28) and Busch (-36). Harvick qualified 19th.