Red Bull drivers Brian Vickers and Scott Speed swept the front row of the grid for the first time in their team's history after emerging quickest in NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway.
Vickers backed up his performance from practice earlier in the day, when he had been quickest. With cooler track temperatures into the evening he was able to go nearly sixth tenths of a second quicker, beating the benchmark previously set by last year's winner Kyle Busch by more than three tenths.
"It's fantastic," said Vickers after claiming his fifth pole position of the season. "Everyone at Red Bull did a fantastic job. We unloaded with a phenomenal car this morning and all that we were lacking was drive off [the corners]. They decided to go in a different direction and they nailed it.
"I know we have a very competitive car in race trim and qualifying trim. When they fixed the drive off it was still turning good. It was a good time."
Coming closest to Vickers was his teammate Speed, who was the final qualifier of the day. He was around two tenths off pole position, but still quick enough to sweep the front row for Red Bull for the first time in the squad's short history in the Sprint Cup Series.
"Brian's lap was really incredible and I didn't think we had a shot to beat that," said Speed, also the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers. "I knew we had a chance to be at the front but we also have to make the race so you gotta be smart about it. It was a nice, solid lap, the car was handling great. It's a good start to the weekend anyway."
Jimmie Johnson, never a winner at Chicagoland, was the fastest Chevrolet and he will see the green flag wave on Saturday afternoon from the inside of the second row of the grid, which he will share with Denny Hamlin, the fastest Toyota driver.
Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five ahead of Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon, while Bill Elliot was the fastest Ford qualifier in eighth place ahead of the Waltrip cars of David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose, who brushed the wall on his lap. Behind them Reed Sorenson was the fastest Dodge in eleventh.
Many drivers spent the afternoon practice session working mainly on race trim as there is a high chance of rain for Friday, when two further sessions are scheduled ahead of Saturday night's race.
Mike Wallace, Dexter Bean and Tony Raines failed to qualify.SPEEDS:
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap
1. Brian Vickers Toyota 184.162 29.322s
2. Scott Speed Toyota 182.958 29.515s + 0.193s
3. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 182.217 29.635s + 0.313s
4. Denny Hamlin Toyota 182.162 29.644s + 0.322s
5. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 182.100 29.654s + 0.332s
6. Kyle Busch Toyota 181.873 29.691s + 0.369s
7. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 181.653 29.727s + 0.405s
8. Bill Elliott Ford 181.476 29.756s + 0.434s
9. David Reutimann Toyota 181.385 29.771s + 0.449s
10. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 181.378 29.772s + 0.450s
11. Reed Sorenson Dodge 181.275 29.789s + 0.467s
12. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 181.220 29.798s + 0.476s
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 181.220 29.798s + 0.476s
14. Mark Martin Chevrolet 181.050 29.826s + 0.504s
15. Kasey Kahne Dodge 181.020 29.831s + 0.509s
16. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 180.977 29.838s + 0.516s
17. David Ragan Ford 180.959 29.841s + 0.519s
18. Dave Blaney Toyota 180.723 29.880s + 0.558s
19. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 180.687 29.886s + 0.564s
20. AJ Allmendinger Dodge 180.566 29.906s + 0.584s
21. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 180.548 29.909s + 0.587s
22. Kurt Busch Dodge 180.433 29.928s + 0.606s
23. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 180.367 29.939s + 0.617s
24. Joey Logano Toyota 180.343 29.943s + 0.621s
25. Carl Edwards Ford 180.312 29.948s + 0.626s
26. Mike Bliss Dodge 180.132 29.978s + 0.656s
27. Paul Menard Ford 179.856 30.024s + 0.702s
28. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 179.790 30.035s + 0.713s
29. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 179.635 30.061s + 0.739s
30. Jamie McMurray Ford 179.629 30.062s + 0.740s
31. Joe Nemechek Toyota 179.473 30.088s + 0.766s
32. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 179.348 30.109s + 0.787s
33. Matt Kenseth Ford 179.348 30.109s + 0.787s
34. Elliott Sadler Dodge 179.253 30.125s + 0.803s
35. Greg Biffle Ford 179.217 30.131s + 0.809s
36. David Stremme Dodge 179.098 30.151s + 0.829s
37. Michael Waltrip Toyota 179.033 30.162s + 0.840s
38. Casey Mears Chevrolet 179.027 30.163s + 0.841s
39. Mike Skinner Toyota 178.838 30.195s + 0.873s
40. John Andretti Chevrolet 178.731 30.213s + 0.891s
41. Robby Gordon Toyota 178.341 30.279s + 0.957s
42. Bobby Labonte Ford 177.276 30.461s + 1.139s
43. David Gilliland Chevrolet 177.942 30.347s + 1.025s
Did not qualify:
Mike Wallace Toyota 177.643 30.398s + 1.076s
Dexter Bean Dodge 177.119 30.488s + 1.166s
Tony Raines Dodge 177.026 30.504s + 1.182s