Roush-Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle will lead the field to the green flag to open next Sunday's Daytona 500. The sweep of the two positions guaranteed by today's time trials opens the team's 25th year of operation. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose, and the surprise of the session Casey Mears rounded out the top-five fastest drivers. Rounding out the top-10 were Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., last year's Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, and Tony Stewart.
In a banner day for Ford, Fusions claimed six of the top-10 positions. Chevrolet had three cars and Truex's Toyota was the lone Camry in the top-10. A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski, piloting the only full-time Dodge Chargers in the field, qualified 18th and 19th.
Unadilla's David Ragain timed 15th-quickest.
The other battle, for drivers not locked into the top-35 in 2011 owner points attempting to be one of the three to guarantee themselves a spot in the Great American race, saw Bayne, Tony Raines, and David Stremme lock into the field. Among those left to try to make the race in Thursday's Gatorade 125-mile qualifiers are Dawsonville's Bill Elliott, past champion Terry Labonte, and popular SPEED TV analyst and Nationwide Series regular Kenny Wallace.
Elliott will have to make the Daytona 500 by either finishing in the top-two amongst go-or-go-home drivers in his Gatorade Duel Thursday or hope that Terry Labonte race his way in, opening up the past-champion's provisional for Elliott.