Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway claimed pole position for Saturday night's non-championship NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte as the new qualifying system proved a hit.
Drivers had to complete three flying laps including a mandatory four-tyre-change pit stop to set a qualifying time. While that fitted usual All-Star practice, the quirk for 2013 was that pitlane speed limits were removed, meaning drivers could charge flat out into and out of their pit boxes. To ensure safety, crews were not permitted over the wall until each car was at a stand.
Edwards and Roush's total time was a 1m11.297s, nearly a second clear of nearest rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick. But Earnhardt was one of four drivers given five-second penalties for pit rule infringements, in his case a missing lugnut. That dropped the Hendrick Chevrolet to 15th, and moved long-time provisional polesitter Kurt Busch back onto the front row.
Edwards' teammate Greg Biffle will starts between Kurt and brother Kyle Busch in third.
Inevitably the new system caused some thrills, with several drivers overshooting their pit areas or having to cope with wild moments under braking in the pitlane. Joey Logano came off best of those making mistakes. The Penske driver was still fifth, 1.7sec slower than Edwards, leaving Logano convinced that he would have been on pole had he not slipped up in the pits.
Among the penalized drivers at the rear of the field, Jimmie Johnson was first to slide through his pit and have to reverse, meaning he was the slowest driver on pure time even before his penalty.
Kevin Harvick's run was disallowed altogether as he was serviced outside the Childress pit area after overshooting. Event rules demand that drivers are brought back into the designated team area before getting service. Harvick had been due to drop to the tail of the field in any case as he had switched to a back-up car after a practice engine failure.
The 19 drivers who qualified straight into the All-Star race will be joined by three who progress through the Showdown qualifying race. The top two Showdown finishers and the winner of a fan vote will gain the final spots on the All-Star grid.
Earnhardt Ganassi had looked set for a front-row sweep in Showdown qualifying with Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya, before Waltrip Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. – the last man in the running order – snatched pole away.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 1m11.297s
2. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 1m12.447s + 1.150s
3. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 1m12.706s + 1.409s
4. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 1m12.754s + 1.457s
5. Joey Logano Penske Ford 1m12.991s + 1.694s
6. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 1m13.595s + 2.298s
7. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 1m13.719s + 2.422s
8. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 1m14.001s + 2.704s
9. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 1m14.032s + 2.735s
10. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 1m14.336s + 3.039s
11. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 1m14.716s + 3.419s
12. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 1m14.989s + 3.692s
13. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 1m15.379s + 4.082s
14. David Ragan Front Row Ford 1m15.778s + 4.481s
15. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 1m17.190s + 5.893s*
16. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 1m20.051s + 8.754s*
17. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 1m22.055s + 10.758s*
18. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 1m24.462s + 13.165s*
19. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet
* 5s penalty for pit infringement
Format: three laps including pitstop
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 27.918s
2. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.023s + 0.105s
3. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.075s + 0.157s
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 28.084s + 0.166s
5. Casey Mears Germain Ford 28.290s + 0.372s
6. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.398s + 0.480s
7. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.412s + 0.494s
8. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.442s + 0.524s
9. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 28.504s + 0.586s
10. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet 28.577s + 0.659s
11. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.599s + 0.681s
12. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 28.612s + 0.694s
13. Scott Riggs Xxxtreme Ford 28.635s + 0.717s
14. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.695s + 0.777s
15. Michael McDowell Leavine Ford 28.770s + 0.852s
16. David Reutimann BK Toyota 28.810s + 0.892s
17. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.830s + 0.912s
18. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 28.875s + 0.957s
19. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 28.924s + 1.006s
20. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford 29.054s + 1.136s
21. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 29.346s + 1.428s
22. David Stremme Swan Toyota 29.385s + 1.467s
23. Brian Keselowski Keselowski Toyota 29.759s + 1.841s