Greg Biffle claimed his first pole position in more than three years as Roush Fenway Racing dominated qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan.
Biffle had been third fastest earlier in practice but was able to pick up nearly half a second on his qualifying lap to beat the previous benchmark set by Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin. Stewart Haas' Ryan Newman and Biffle's Roush teammate Matt Kenseth had been faster in practice but could not beat the pole-winner after running last in the qualifying order, ending up third and second, respectively.
Biffle's pole lap speed of 190.345mph (37.830sec) stands as a new record for the current specification of Cup car at the track, which first ran at the two-mile oval in 2008.
"I don't think that could have gone any better, I tell you what," said Biffle. "This team has needed it. We have great cars and I can't say enough for [crew chief] Matt Puccia and this 16 team. They work really hard and I am proud of them.
"All of a sudden Matt is becoming a hell of a qualifier. He makes fun of himself when he gets up there and says that the throttle sticks. What a great job for the whole Ford camp...I can't wait for Sunday."
Carl Edwards was the lowest Roush Fenway qualifier, ending up only 22nd following struggles in practice, while the other three Ford Fusions fielded by the team were up in top seven spots.
Two-time Michigan winner Denny Hamlin was fourth, meaning he beat his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates in his first qualifying session running Toyota Racing Development engines, having feared reliability issues would put him out of Chase contention only four weeks before the play-off field is set. In the sister Gibbs cars, Kyle Busch was 17th fastest, while Joey Logano – who had a spin in practice – was 23rd running the Joe Gibbs Racing engines the team has used all year long.
Hendrick Motorsports' Mark Martin rounded out the top five ahead of Penske's local hero Brad Keselowski, Roush's David Ragan and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who held provisional pole at the track where he last claimed victory 115 races ago. His teammate Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt Ganassi's Jamie McMurray completed the top 10.
Wood Brothers Racing's Trevor Bayne was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 20th, while Johnny Sauter (subbing for Robby Gordon, who is at the Nationwide Series event in Montreal), Erik Darnell and TJ Bell failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 37.826s
2. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 37.853s + 0.027s
3. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 37.980s + 0.154s
4. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 38.036s + 0.210s
5. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 38.057s + 0.231s
6. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 38.094s + 0.268s
7. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 38.149s + 0.323s
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 38.162s + 0.336s
9. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 38.176s + 0.350s
10. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 38.204s + 0.378s
11. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 38.221s + 0.395s
12. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 38.226s + 0.400s
13. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 38.251s + 0.425s
14. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 38.275s + 0.449s
15. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 38.280s + 0.454s
16. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 38.286s + 0.460s
17. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 38.297s + 0.471s
18. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 38.298s + 0.472s
19. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 38.344s + 0.518s
20. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 38.347s + 0.521s
21. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 38.357s + 0.531s
22. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 38.364s + 0.538s
23. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 38.369s + 0.543s
24. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 38.414s + 0.588s
25. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 38.504s + 0.678s
26. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 38.519s + 0.693s
27. Travis Kvapil Front Row Ford 38.534s + 0.708s
28. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 38.564s + 0.738s
29. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 38.583s + 0.757s
30. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 38.639s + 0.813s
31. JJ Yeley Front Row Ford 38.650s + 0.824s
32. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 38.661s + 0.835s
33. Landon Cassill Phoenix Chevrolet 38.788s + 0.962s
34. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 38.814s + 0.988s
35. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 38.834s + 1.008s
36. David Stremme Inception Chevrolet 38.851s + 1.025s
37. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 38.864s + 1.038s
38. Andy Lally TRG Chevrolet 38.889s + 1.063s
39. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 38.933s + 1.107s
40. Todd Bodine HP Toyota 38.953s + 1.127s
41. Tony Raines Front Row Ford 39.229s + 1.403s
42. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 39.294s + 1.468s
43. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 39.298s + 1.472s
44. Johnny Sauter Gordon Dodge 39.384s + 1.558s
45. Erik Darnell Whitney Chevrolet 39.547s + 1.721s
46. TJ Bell LTD Toyota 39.720s + 1.894s