Paul Menard, Greg Biffle on front row for tonight’s Sprint Showdown

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With a field-best burst of speed Friday afternoon, Paul Menard earned the pole for tonight’s Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Menard covered the 1.5-mile track at a field-best speed of 189.673 mph, just a tick ahead of second-fastest Greg Biffle (189.660).

“Short race, obviously 20 laps the first segment, hopefully it goes green the whole way and we lead every lap,” Menard told Fox Sports 1. “We’ve got a real good race car, but all hell can break loose, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Added Biffle, “We’ve got a lot of confidence. This Ortho Ford Fusion has a lot of speed. Man, I just wish I hadn’t had to back out of the gas in 1 and 2. That probably cost us that top spot, but we’re happy to be on the front row here. It’s nice to qualify up front and hope we have a good run.”

The pole winner in the Showdown has gone on to win six different times in the history of the event.

David Ragan was third-fastest (189.049 mph), followed by Clint Bowyer (188.298) and Austin Dillon (188.173).

The Showdown is two segments at 20 laps each. The top finisher in each segment will earn a berth in Saturday night’s main event, the Sprint All-Star Race.

Here’s how the field stacks up for tonight’s Showdown:

1 Paul Menard … 189.675 mph

2 Greg Biffle … 189.660

3 David Ragan … 189.049

4 Clint Bowyer … 188.298

5 Austin Dillon … 188.173

6 Kyle Larson … 188.101

7 Martin Truex Jr. … 188.055

8 Danica Patrick … 187.996

9 Casey Mears … 186.981

10 Michael McDowell … 186.884

11 Chase Elliott … 186.323

12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 186.233

13 Sam Hornish Jr. … 187.650

14 Justin Allgaier … 187.389

15 Trevor Bayne … 187.130

16 Alex Bowman … 186.400

17 David Gilliland … 186.226

18 Mike Bliss … 185.414

19 Josh Wise … 185.160

20 Landon Cassill … 184.989

21 Matt DiBenedetto … 184.881

22 Jeb Burton … 184.685

23 Cole Whitt … 184.565

24 JJ Yeley … 182.673

25 Michael Annett … 181.494

26 Jeff Green … 181.336

27 Brendan Gaughan. 179.271

28 Alex Kennedy … 179.259

29 Tanner Berryhill … 177.078

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