Tony Stewart claimed his first pole position in more than four years in qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The two-time Sprint Cup champion, fresh from getting his first win of the year as an owner with Ryan Newman's victory at Phoenix, broke a 155-race streak without a pole by setting the fastest lap in qualifying, with a time of 28.224 seconds at an average speed of 191.327mph.
Stewart, at the wheel of his No. 14 Chevrolet, bumped practice pacesetter Greg Biffle from pole and only Penske's Sam Hornish Jr was able to threaten him after that, running around two hundredths of a second slower right after Stewart had completed his pole-winning run.
"It's like the sky is falling here," Stewart joked after winning his first ever pole position at Texas Motor Speedway. "Yeah, qualifying is not my strong shoe but [crew chief] Darien Grubb and all the team got me a really good car here for this weekend. I'm really proud of them."
Stewart's pole position lap time was a couple of hundredths of a second quicker than what Jeff Gordon managed last year in November, as Cup cars run for the first time at a 1.5-mile oval with the new spoiler.
After starting a career best third at Phoenix last weekend, Hornish earned his first front row start in Sprint Cup competition at a track where he won three times in his IndyCar days. Roush Fenway's Biffle ended up third fastest and quickest of the Fords, joined on the second row for Sunday by points leader Jimmie Johnson, while his future Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five in qualifying.
Kyle Busch was the fastest Toyota in seventh, behind Jeff Burton's Chevy and ahead of his RCR teammate Clint Bowyer.
Joe Nemechek was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 22nd, right behind Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified outside the top 10 for the first time this year. David Stremme, Terry Cook and Johnny Sauter, who was replacing Mike Bliss in the No. 36 car, failed to qualify for Sunday's race. Bliss qualified 34th for Phoenix Racing.
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap
1. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 191.327 28.224s
2. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 191.232 28.238s + 0.014s
3. Greg Biffle Ford 190.900 28.287s + 0.063s
4. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 190.880 28.290s + 0.066s
5. Kasey Kahne Ford 190.712 28.315s + 0.091s
6. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 190.255 28.383s + 0.159s
7. Kyle Busch Toyota 190.248 28.384s + 0.160s
8. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 190.188 28.393s + 0.169s
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 190.121 28.403s + 0.179s
10. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 190.000 28.421s + 0.197s
11. Kurt Busch Dodge 189.900 28.436s + 0.212s
12. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 189.833 28.446s + 0.222s
13. David Ragan Ford 189.753 28.458s + 0.234s
14. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 189.707 28.465s + 0.241s
15. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 189.454 28.503s + 0.279s
16. David Reutimann Toyota 189.381 28.514s + 0.290s
17. AJ Allmendinger Ford 189.029 28.567s + 0.343s
18. Joey Logano Toyota 188.910 28.585s + 0.361s
19. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 188.871 28.591s + 0.367s
20. Carl Edwards Ford 188.864 28.592s + 0.368s
21. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 188.811 28.600s + 0.376s
22. Joe Nemechek Toyota 188.778 28.605s + 0.381s
23. Scott Speed Toyota 188.772 28.606s + 0.382s
24. Dave Blaney Toyota 188.745 28.610s + 0.386s
25. Paul Menard Ford 188.699 28.617s + 0.393s
26. Regan Smith Chevrolet 188.692 28.618s + 0.394s
27. Max Papis Toyota 188.640 28.626s + 0.402s
28. Matt Kenseth Ford 188.633 28.627s + 0.403s
29. Denny Hamlin Toyota 188.567 28.637s + 0.413s
30. Mark Martin Chevrolet 188.317 28.675s + 0.451s
31. David Gilliland Ford 188.094 28.709s + 0.485s
32. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 188.088 28.710s + 0.486s
33. Michael McDowell Toyota 187.996 28.724s + 0.500s
34. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 187.944 28.732s + 0.508s
35. Travis Kvapil Ford 187.859 28.745s + 0.521s
36. Bill Elliott Ford 187.839 28.748s + 0.524s
37. Brad Keselowski Dodge 187.826 28.750s + 0.526s
38. Robby Gordon Toyota 187.676 28.773s + 0.549s
39. Elliott Sadler Ford 187.169 28.851s + 0.627s
40. Kevin Conway Ford 186.780 28.911s + 0.687s
41. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 186.645 28.932s + 0.708s
42. Brian Vickers Toyota 185.370 29.131s + 0.907s
43. Reed Sorenson Toyota 187.071 28.866s + 0.642s
44. David Stremme Ford 186.554 28.946s + 0.722s
45. Terry Cook Dodge 186.021 29.029s + 0.805s
46. Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 181.990 29.672s + 1.448s