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Biffle Wins Pole For Southern 500

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, May 11 2012

Greg Biffle and crew chief Matt Puccia got the pole for Saturday night's Sprint Cup race in Darlington. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

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Greg Biffle won the pole on Friday for Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.

Biffle, driving a Roush Fenway Racing Ford, had a fast lap of 180.257 mph. It was his second pole of the season – his other came at the Bristol short track.

Biffle has been the series points leader since the third race of the season in Las Vegas. He has one victory, which came at Texas Motor Speedway last month.

“I’ve said it three times in these interviews now, I’m having such a great time driving these race cars,” Biffle said. “My guys and Matt Puccia are doing such a great job. This is what a race car driver looks forward to is showing up every weekend and having a really fast car to drive. They’re sure making my life easy and making me look good so far. It was a pretty uneventful lap.

“The car just had a ton of grip. It stuck to the race track really, really well. I felt like I was a little bit light down in turn one and two, should have been a little quicker down there, but I got a lot out of it in three and four, so it was a great lap.”

Second fastest Friday was Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson, who had a fast lap of 179.566 mph.

That was also the speed of Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Johnson was awarded P2 because he is higher in Cup driver points.

“I learned quite a bit in race trim,” Johnson said. “We actually brought some of that into our qualifying set-up and it paid off. It’s a very comfortable race car; maybe a little too comfortable down in (Turns) 3 and 4. I knew that I left a little time on the table down there, and (pole winner) Greg (Biffle) certainly went down there and found it. I was watching. He had a blistering fast 3 and 4, and came back around and got us. But it was a productive day. We’re learning a lot. I wish it was a Hendrick front row, but it was a solid day all in all.”

Kahne said, “Where the sun goes down, in (Turns) 1 and 2 were still completely in the sun, and then (Turns) 3 and 4 were slowly getting shaded. But where I ran there, I was in the shade. I didn’t run low, so I was in the shade over there. It felt like I had really good grip over there. So, I don’t think the track changed a whole lot throughout the field as qualifying went. So I think that’s why we were able to kind of get that lap early and stay up there.”

Fourth was Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing. He had a lap at 179.461 mph.

Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing was fifth and Martin Truex Jr. of Michael Waltrip Racing was sixth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Regan Smith and Jeff Burton.

Danica Patrick qualified 38th at 175.497 mph for her Cup debut at Darlington. The Southern 500 will be Patrick’s second Cup race and her first in a Cup car with an engines not fitted with a restrictor plate.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, May 11 2012
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