All Ricky Stenhouse Jr. needed to do to win his first pole in the Sprint Cup Series was listen to his team owner, Jack Roush.
Before his run Friday night late in the qualifying order, Roush told Stenhouse the low line around the track would be the fastest.
Yet Stenhouse had doubts – Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick and Juan Pablo Montoya had all run before him and run significantly faster than their practice speeds using the high line around the track.
Stenhouse stuck with Roush’s suggestion, and his lap at 189.688 mph was good enough to knock off Edwards and claim the No. 1 starting position for Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I was so confused whether to run the bottom or top, but I stuck with our plan to run the bottom that Jack actually gave me,” Stenhouse said.
“We’re getting better and better. I felt our last run (in practice) was really good and I thought we had a shot at good, solid top 10 and going out late definitely increases your chances.”
Edwards qualified second, Montoya was third, Denny Hamlin was fourth and Jeff Gordon was fifth. Series points leader Jimmie Johnson will line up 10th.