Roush Fenway drivers invade top 12 in qualifying

Greg Biffle. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, Ala.— Collectively, Roush Fenway Racing turned in an admirable performance during Saturday’s time trials, putting all three of its full-time Fords in the top 11 on the grid.

Greg Biffle led the RFR qualifying effort with a fifth-place effort, followed closely by teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 17 Fusion. Trevor Bayne was 11th in the No. 6 Ford.

“Our speedway qualifying has been really good the last couple of years,” Stenhouse said. “It’s really cool to see all of the hard work that the guys put in at the shop and Doug (Yates) with the engines pay off.

“A lot of effort goes into trying to qualify well here, because anytime you can qualify well here, it generally means you have a better drafting race car. I’m happy with our top-10 start. We’ll get a good pit stall selection and hopefully we’ll be able to keep our track position all day.”

Two of Stenhouse’s six career top-five finishes have come at restrictor-plate tracks. Bayne picked up his only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in the 2011 Daytona 500.

SHORT STROKES

The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth all were pulled from the grid before qualifying when NASCAR inspectors noticed irregularities with the rear deck lid. The issues were corrected, and Kenseth subsequently qualified third, Hamlin eighth and Busch 14th. … Reed Sorenson made the final 12 in qualifying with the fastest lap of the day in his No. 55 Jay Robinson-owned Toyota, covering the 2.66-mile distance in 49.324 seconds (194.145 mph). But on his money lap in the final round, Sorenson slowed to 188.300 mph, qualifying 12th with a speed that would have placed him 35th in the first round. … Ryan Reed, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, will make his first Sprint Cup start after qualifying a creditable 18th in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford.

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