By Stephen Hawkins
AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — Carl Edwards became the seventh different pole winner in the seven NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season, posting the fast lap of 194.609 mph in the final round of qualifying for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at the Texas track where he has won three times.
“My confidence level was pretty decent, but now it’s really good,” Edwards said after Friday’s qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. “It’s up there. To have that fast of a race car is huge, but I like this place.”
Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. both had qualifying laps of 193.306 mph. Logano will start on the front row beside Edwards, with Truex third. Rookie Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fill out the top five spots.
Jimmie Johnson, who has won the last three races at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked track, qualified 11th.
It is Edwards’ 17th career pole, and his second in 23 starts at Texas. Edwards won both races at Texas in 2008 after winning the 2005 fall race, but none of those wins was from the pole. Only Johnson has won more Cup races at Texas.
Edwards has finished seventh or better in five of the six races so far this season in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He is fourth in points.
“I don’t know what the other guys feel, the tire and downforce package for me lets me feel like I can go into the corner and move around and feel the tire underneath me,” Edwards said. “Even in qualifying, there were times when I got a little sideways and it slid a little bit and I could recover and that’s really fun as a race car driver.”
SAME TIMES: While Logano and Truex recorded the same exact times for their best laps, Logano got the second spot because of more championship owner points for the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
FORD FIVE: For the first time this season, there were five Fords that made the final round of qualifying: Logano (second), Stenhouse (fifth), Ryan Blaney (seventh), Brad Keselowski (eighth) and Trevor Bayne (12th).
WHAT TO EXPECT: Johnson has won six times at Texas, including five of the last seven races. All of Johnson’s wins at Texas have come after qualifying eighth or better. None of the past 10 winners had qualified worse than 10th.
BREAKING THE STREAK: Before Edwards won his second pole at Texas, there had been 11 different pole winners at Texas since 2010.
ONE-TENTH FROM POLE: Of the 30 Sprint Cup races at Texas, only three winners (10 percent) have come from the pole. They were Kyle Busch in the 2013 spring race, Jimmie Johnson in the 2012 fall race and Kasey Kahne in the 2006 spring race.