Carl Edwards beat Earnhardt Ganassi team-mates Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya to pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen. The Roush Fenway racer carried the momentum from his squad's victory at Pocono with Greg Biffle last week, setting a blistering pace on his qualifying lap to improve on Montoya's benchmark by more than four tenths of a second.
Edwards was the only driver able to break into the 70-second bracket, getting close to the track record that still holds Jeff Gordon from eight years ago. His time of 70.882 seconds was set at an average speed of 124.432mph, edging front row partner McMurray by 0.354sec.
"Greg Biffle and [crew chief] Greg Erwin helped us a lot with our set-up for qualifying so that was a good team effort," said Edwards, after claiming his fifth Sprint Cup series career pole, his first on a road course. "We're riding on a wave right now. Roush Fenway and Ford, we're making a comeback here and it feels good."
McMurray just edged teammate Montoya to the front row by 66 thousandths of a second, in what has been the best qualifying efforts for both at Watkins Glen. AJ Allmendinger, fresh from his multi-year deal announcement with Richard Petty Motorsports ended up fourth fastest, joining Montoya on row two.
"It was a good lap, I didn't make any mistakes," Montoya said after earning his best ever road-course start in the series. "It's very hard to get all of it together and you make one mistake here and end up losing half a second. Within check, I'd say it was a really good lap."
Penske's Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five as the best Dodge ahead of five-time Watkins Glen winner Tony Stewart, while Red Bull's Scott Speed seemed to be running for pole until losing time on the Carrousel turn, ending as the fastest Toyota in eighth.
Sonoma winner Jimmie Johnson was by far the best from the Hendrick Motorsports camp in ninth, while former event winner Kyle Busch was tenth for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Canadian Patrick Carpentier, making his Sprint Cup series return a year after his last race in the series, was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 17th, while JJ Yeley, Dave Blaney and Tony Ave failed to qualify.