With about a dozen drivers left to qualify Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway during Georgia-Pacific Qualifying Night, Greg Biffle knocked Kurt Busch off the pole to claim his first No. 1 starting position of 2007 during time trials for Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500.
"A first for Atlanta, a first for the season. That was a lot of firsts," Biffle said after grabbing the pole with a 28.807-second, 192.453-mph lap in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford on the 1.54-mile track. "I'm kind of surprised we don't have a pole here. We run very well at Atlanta and enjoy coming here and racing."
Even though it was Biffle's first Bud Pole at Atlanta, it was his fourth top-10 start in 10 races at the speedway that opened in 1960, but was reconfigured in the late 1990s after Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired ownership.
"Our car was really fast right off the truck," continued Biffle, who now possesses four career poles in 183 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. "One of the problems I was having when we switched to qualifying trim is when I'd do my warm-up lap I'd get to turns three and four and the car didn't really want to turn real good across the bottom and then we'd get really loose and I lost my speed coming to the green. The next time I adjusted that a little bit and we ran second-quick in practice, so I knew tonight I'd just have to be cautious about that part of it."
Biffle admitted he was concerned when former teammate Kurt Busch posted his qualifying lap of 28.811 seconds, 192.426 mph in his Penske Racing Dodge Charger. Busch was the third of 48 drivers to make his qualifying run.
"I knew that was a really, really fast lap he put up and then Dale Jarrett right after him," Biffle continued. "Nobody else seemed like they picked up speed."
Busch's second fastest qualifying lap provided him with his 13th top-10 start this season and his fifth in 14 Atlanta races.
The surprise of the night, however, was Jarrett's third quickest lap of 28.927 seconds, 191.655 mph, in his Toyota. It is his best starting position this season and his first top-10 since Talladega on Oct. 10, 2006. Jarrett was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
Rounding out the top five were Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Only three of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10. In addition to Busch, Jimmie Johnson qualified sixth and Jeff Gordon eighth. Carl Edwards will go off 16th, Matt Kenseth 17th, Denny Hamlin 18th, Kyle Busch 19th, Martin Truex Jr. 20th, Clint Bowyer 26th, Jeff Burton 28th, Tony Stewart 30th and Kevin Harvick 37th.
Great seats are still available for the Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup race. Tickets can be obtained by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877)-9-AMS-TIX or visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate, the day of the event.