NASCAR Homestead-Miami Speedway Starting Lineup: Carl Edwards Leads Qualifying For Chase Finale

Chase leader Carl Edwards has a golden opportunity to extend his advantage over Tony Stewart as soon as the green flag drops on Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Edwards won the pole for the Ford 400 on Saturday, the only driver to top 175 mph in qualifying. The Roush Fenway Racing driver's championship rival, Tony Stewart, will start 15th.

"Things are good," Edwards said after his lap. "Today went really well. I felt like our car was really fast in race trim. I wasn't sure what to expect in qualifying trim, but that was a pleasant surprise."

Martin Truex Jr. will start alongside Edwards, but if the latter driver can win the first lap, he'll score a crucial bonus point that would immediately extend his advantage to four points over Stewart.

"It's definitely a luxury for him at this point," Stewart said, "but don't start etching his name on the trophy yet."

Both drivers know they might need every point.

"It looked like there were a lot of fast cars in practice, and it didn't look like we were head and shoulders faster than everybody else," Edwards said. "If there are faster race cars out there, they'll be able to make it through the field."

Stewart seemed to brush off his qualifying effort and claimed he was actually pleased with the result – since he's not typically known as a good qualifier.

The two teams differed in their strategy during Saturday's practice sessions, with Stewart working on race setup and Edwards focusing much on qualifying setup.

Said Stewart: "They're either going to look like geniuses doing it or they're not."

Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. Those five cars will get to select the first few pit stalls, which could prove key should the race come down to a late pit stop.

"We've still got to go run this race, and I know how tough those (Stewart) can be," Edwards said. "We're just going to keep our heads down and work hard. If anything, this is good for our morale."

Stewart warned fans and media not to jump to conclusions over Edwards' fast day.

"He put up a fast lap," Stewart said. "(But) his lap times fell off pretty hard in the one long run that he did."

Here is the starting lineup for Sunday's NASCAR Chase finale at Homestead:

  1. Carl Edwards
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kasey Kahne
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Matt Kenseth
  7. Jeff Gordon
  8. Greg Biffle
  9. Jimmie Johnson
  10. Denny Hamlin
  11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  12. AJ Allmendinger
  13. David Ragan
  14. Ryan Newman
  15. Tony Stewart
  16. Regan Smith
  17. Clint Bowyer
  18. Marcos Ambrose
  19. Kyle Busch
  20. Trevor Bayne
  21. Kevin Harvick
  22. Landon Cassill
  23. Paul Menard
  24. Brian Vickers
  25. Mark Martin
  26. Jamie McMurray
  27. Juan Pablo Montoya
  28. David Reutimann
  29. Cole Whitt
  30. JJ Yeley
  31. Jeff Burton
  32. Joey Logano
  33. Michael McDowell
  34. Dave Blaney
  35. Bobby Labonte
  36. David Stremme
  37. Joe Nemechek
  38. David Gilliland
  39. Mike Bliss
  40. Casey Mears
  41. Travis Kvapil
  42. TJ Bell
  43. Geoffrey Bodine
DNQ: Scott Speed, Reed Sorenson, Mike Skinner, Scott Riggs, Grant Enfinger.
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