Sunday, June 24, 2018
Sports

Edwards wins the Sprint Cup pole at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Carl Edwards, who won the pole at Watkins Glen International, has become somewhat of a master at qualifying on NASCAR's two Sprint Cup road courses.

Edwards turned a fast lap of 126.562 mph Saturday to edge Kyle Larson for the top spot for today's Cheez-It 355 at the Glenn. It was Edwards' fourth pole of the season in his No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and gave him a road course sweep. He won the pole in June at NASCAR's other road course in Sonoma, Calif.

Not bad for a driver who backed into a fence on the first lap he took at Watkins Glen and ignited a brush fire at Virginia International Raceway while practicing there.

"I'm really proud of doing well just because it really has been a long learning process," Edwards said. "Now we've just got to get a win here."

The past five winners at Watkins Glen came from the top six in qualifying.

Five-time Watkins Glen winner Tony Stewart, who's retiring after the season, qualified third in the final road race of his career, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger, Jamie McMurray, Michael McDowell and Brad Keselowski completed the top 12.

Martin Truex, who had topped the speed charts in Friday's first practice and was second to Allmendinger in final practice, wound up 14th after problems with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Jeff Gordon, subbing again for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., qualified 21st.

Truex and Stenhouse took turns impeding one another's progress during the first round of qualifying, and that ended up taking two of the fastest cars in practice out of the running for the pole.

Stenhouse made the initial mistake and Truex simply exacted revenge.

"I don't know what the right thing is to do," Truex said. "When you get to this level, you should be able to know what's going on around you. It's a little frustrating. He was just leaving the pits. It was not like he was on his lap. He should have seen me and just checked up."

Edwards said that can be a problem on both road courses.

"We work hard to try not to mess up other people," Edwards said. "Here it's really easy to mess somebody up. It's even easier to act like you didn't mean to."

Also failing to make the top 12 were Jimmie Johnson (13th), Kevin Harvick (15th), rookie Chase Elliott (16th) and Kurt Busch (17th).

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