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May 27th, 2011
Brad Keselowski claimed his second Sprint Cup career pole position in qualifying for Sunday’s Coke 600, NASCAR’s longest race.
The Penske driver set a fastest lap of 28.112 seconds at an average speed of 192.089 mph, which bumped Richard Petty’s AJ Allmendinger from pole position. Points’ leader Carl Edwards looked a threat after running later in the order thanks to a faster practice time, but in the end he had to settle for third.
“It’s an important weekend for Penske Racing and an important weekend for the country,” said Keselowski after winning pole for NASCAR’s Memorial weekend race. “The 600 is a big race for NASCAR, it has a lot of tradition and to add my name to the list of pole winners is pretty special but I’d like to add it to those who have won it. This is the first step to doing that.”
Allmendinger will be making his second consecutive front-row start, running as the fastest Ford on a flying lap. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin will share the second row of the grid with Roush Fenway’s Edwards, who drivers a brand new car this weekend after damaging his All-Star winning Ford from last week in his post-race celebration.
Richard Childress’ Jeff Burton was the fastest Chevy in fifth after setting the pace earlier in practice. Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson was sixth, ahead of Michael Waltrip’s David Reutimann, who looked strong again after finishing fifth in last week’s All-Star race.
Roush’s David Ragan was eighth while Ricky Stenhouse Jr run last in the order and made good use of the conditions to impress with ninth fastest while making his Cup debut for the Wood Brothers, filling in for Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne.
He was by some margin the fastest of those who needed to make the field on time, running nearly fourth tenths of a second faster than David Starr, second among those non-guaranteed the start before qualifying.
Andy Lally spun on his second flying lap and ended up being bumped from the grid by Stenhouse, while TJ Bell, Scott Wimmer, Tony Raines and Scott Riggs also failed to make the field.