Stewart Nabs Atlanta Cup Pole
HAMPTON, Ga. – Tony Stewart grabbed his first pole of the 2012 season during qualifying Friday evening for the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Stewart clocked in at 29.79 seconds (186.121 mph) at the 1.5-mile asphalt oval to earn the 14th pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career as well as his first at AMS. Championship leader Greg Biffle will start second during Sunday’s 500 miler.
The Indiana native took an unorthodox approach to winning the pole, using the high side of the track. He gave credit to his teammate Ryan Newman for telling him to go high during his qualifying lap.
“That lap is 100 percent due to Ryan Newman,” Stewart said. “He walked back down there (after his qualifying lap) to help us before we went out. He said there is a ton of grip up there, you’ve just got to do it.
“I’m glad he came down there. If it weren’t for him we wouldn’t be on the pole probably,” Stewart concluded.
Kyle Busch qualified third in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, followed by Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Marcos Ambrose completed the top 10.
The go-or-go-homers that qualified for the AdvoCare 500 are David Stremme, Trevor Bayne, Jason Leffler, Scott Speed, Joe Nemechek, Reed Sorenson, Scott Riggs and J.J. Yeley.
Michael McDowell, Josh Wise, Stephen Leicht and Mike Bliss failed to qualify for Sunday’s race.