|credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs|
Matt Kenseth's pole-winning lap was smoking fast at 199.299 mph, but it was Tony Stewart who laid down the first 200-mph lap at a 1.5 mile speedway in Sprint Cup history.
Several drivers were flirting with the 200 mph-mark during Friday's first round of qualifying for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Early in the second round it became obvious that it wasn't a matter of if someone would hit 200, but who would be the one to do it.
With the sun going down and the North Texas air cooling, each lap was successively faster until conditions were perfect for Stewart's epic lap.
Just three weeks ago Stewart's SHR teammate Kurt Busch set a track record of 198.771 in the second round of qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway, to that point the fastest ever on a 1.5 mile track.
Because of tire falloff, speeds in the third round of qualifying at the Great American Speedway rarely match those of the second round, especially at a track that's as abrasive as Texas.
Lining up next to Kenseth, slower by .008 seconds, Jeff Gordon makes his eighth front row start of the season. Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson starts third, next to Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick, and boss Tony Stewart make up Row 3. Ryan Newman starts seventh, followed by Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
See the second race of the Eliminator Round on ESPN at 2 pm. CT.
Here's the full lineup:
|8||Martin Truex, Jr.||27.218||198.398|
|12||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||27.308||197.744|
|18||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||27.230||198.311|