Watkins Glen, N.Y. A year ago, Carl Edwards started 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International and finished third. This time he’ll start at the front.
Edwards turned a lap of 124.432 mph in 70.882 seconds Saturday to outdistance easily Jamie McMurray’s lap of 123.814 mph in 71.236 secs. It was just the fifth pole in 215 starts for Edwards, his first on a road course in Cup competition, and it was fast. Edwards was just a few ticks off Jeff Gordon’s 2003 track record of 124.58 mph in 70.7979 secs.
“Unbelievable! I can’t tell you how much that helps our team,” Edwards said. “(Crew chief) Bob (Osborne) said P1. I thought he said 21. That’s a great lap. We’re just enjoying the wave we’re riding. We’re making a comeback.”
And that should help team owner Jack Roush in his recovery from a plane crash 10 days ago. The 68-year-old Roush, who also received a boost last week with Greg Biffle’s win at Pocono, is at the Mayo Clinic and will remain there indefinitely to treat facial injuries.
Edwards has put together four straight finishes of seventh or better, including a second at Chicagoland and a third a week ago at Pocono, to surge to 10th in the points standings with only five races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup title.