FT. WORTH, Texas — Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart was the last driver to take time during the final round of knockout qualifying Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.
His Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet start first in Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 after turning a 27.62-second lap of the 1.5-mile superspeedway and knocking Ford driver Brad Keselowski, who turned a 27.63-second lap from the pole during the final seconds of the session.
“This thing was fast every round, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to held on,” Stewart said. “It felt really fast the whole lap until turn three when it got really loose and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to hold on.”
Stewart became the seventh different pole winner in seven races this season in winning his 15th career pole, but first since September of 2012.
Kevin Harvick, who set a track record lap of 27.234 seconds (198.28 mph) during the first of the three qualifying sessions, starts third in a second Stewart-Haas Chevrolet.
Roush Fenway Racing Ford drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.
Denny Hamlin was the best qualifying Toyota driver in sixth, while Trevor Bayne (Ford), Ryan Newman (Chevrolet), Marcos Ambrose (Ford), Joey Logano (Ford), Kurt Busch (Chevrolet) and Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet) rounded out the 12 drivers who made into the final round of qualifying.
J.J. Yeley, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Truex and David Stremme failed to qualify.