News & Media

Biffle edges Allmendinger for Bristol pole

March 16, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Wins first career pole at Bristol by .001 seconds; Newman, Gordon second row

By the thinnest of margins, Greg Biffle won the pole for Sunday's Food City 500 Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Biffle posted a lap at 125.215 mph (15.324 seconds) in Friday's time trials and watched as the 10 drivers who succeeded him in the qualifying order tried to knock him out of the top spot. AJ Allmendinger came closest but fell .001 seconds short, as Biffle claimed the 10th pole award of his career and his first at the .533-mile short track.

Food City 500

2.A. Allmendinger125.20715.325
3.R. Newman125.15815.331
4.J. Gordon125.08515.340
5.B. Keselowski124.86515.367

"I've got to pinch myself right now -- I think I'm dreaming," said Biffle, who has finished third in each of the first three races this season and leads the Cup standings by 10 points in front of Kevin Harvick.

Ryan Newman qualified third at 125.158 mph, followed by Jeff Gordon (125.085 mph) and August race winner Brad Keselowski (124.865 mph).

Biffle's team made some 11th-hour adjustments minutes before Friday's practice ended, and the changes paid off in the pole run.

"We were just going back and forth on some front geometry," Biffle said. "We were switching a few things back and forth for a little more turn versus a little less turn. We were adjusting that balance so that the car front-to-rear grip was equal."

What it gave Biffle was a 15-second thrill ride he would be reluctant to duplicate.

"I got in the gas fairly early [through Turns 1 and 2] and was a little worried about making the rest of the corner," Biffle said. "It got loose up off of both ends because I went in the gas so early in the middle of the corner, just pushing the envelope as much as I could.

"If you asked me to do it again, I probably can't. I was on the edge, and like I said, one one-thousandth of a second over the No. 22 car [Allmendinger] -- that's not a lot."

The front-row starting spot was welcome medicine for Allmendinger, who has battled ill fortune in his first three starts for Penske Racing and is tied for 29th in points. Last week at Las Vegas, fuel pickup issues spoiled a promising run, but Allmendinger believes his team has the problem solved.

"As soon as we got back [from Las Vegas] on Monday morning, they were working hard on it," Allmendinger said. "They figured out the problem, and they went to Nashville [for a test session] with [driver] Parker Kligerman and just ran miles after miles, making sure we didn't have any problems with it brought that here to Bristol.

"I guess we'll find out after Sunday if it's completely solved, but I have confidence that it is."


• This is Greg Biffle's 10th career pole in his 334th career race.
• This is Greg Biffle's first pole at Bristol in his 19th start. He has started second three times.
• Bristol is the 10th different track he has won a pole.
• Greg Biffle is the 45th different driver to win a Cup pole at Bristol.
• Roush Fenway Racing won its 81st Cup Series pole and second pole of 2012.
• This is Roush Fenway's 11th Bristol pole -- tying Hendrick Motorsports for second.
• Ford earned its 36th pole at Bristol, tied for most at the track.
• AJ Allmendinger (second) earned his best Bristol start in his 10th race. His previous best start was eighth
• Ryan Newman (third) scored his 14th top-10 start in his 21st Bristol race.
• Jeff Gordon (fourth) earned his 25th top-five start in his 39th race at Bristol.
• Brad Keselowski (fifth) scored his best Bristol start in his fifth race.
• Aric Almirola (seventh) earned his best Bristol start. His previous best start in five races was 16th.

Timmy Hill failed to qualify for the 43-car field. Robby Gordon withdrew before qualifying began.