- Associated Press - Friday, March 16, 2012

BRISTOL, TENN. (AP) - Greg Biffle knows he won’t be perfect all season.

He’ll take what he can get right now.

The Sprint Cup points leader continued his strong start to the season Friday by winning the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I know this isn’t going to last all season, but I’m enjoying the hell out of it right now,” Biffle said.

He turned a lap of 125.215 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford to take the top qualifying spot for Sunday’s race. Biffle has opened the season with three third-place finishes, and has not qualified lower than ninth.

“I gotta pinch myself. I think I’m dreaming,” he said. “I’m having a great time, the time of my life.”

It’s the 10th pole of Biffle’s career, but his first at Bristol. He’s credited his strong start to the season to an offseason overhaul to his No. 16 team. Biffle has a new crew chief in Matt Puccia, and every crew member was changed.

“They are a great group of guys, I’m happy to have them,” Biffle said. “Just plain and simply Matt Puccia is the reason why we’re running and competing and finishing where we are. This team needed leadership and he was willing to step up and take the task on and he’s done a fantastic job so far.”

AJ Allmendinger qualified second in a Penske Racing Dodge. It’s his first top-10 starting position of 2012, but third in 10 previous Sprint Cup races at Bristol.

Allmendinger has had a rough start to his first season with Penske, opening the year with a 34th-place finish at Daytona followed by an 18th at Phoenix and a 37th at Las Vegas.

“This has never been a place that I’m really good at,” Allmendinger said. “We tested this week and learned some things, came into here, and was able to put them on the race car and really just have a solid day overall. We’ve had a tough start to the season, and definitely not the way we imagined when we signed. But it’s still early.”

Ryan Newman qualified third in a Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Jeff Gordon qualified fourth in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Brad Keselowski was fifth to put both Penske cars in the top five. Regan Smith was sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne.

Timmy Hill was the only driver who failed to qualify. Robby Gordon withdrew because of mechanical problems.

Brian Vickers will make his first start of the season, driving the No. 55 Toyota in place of Mark Martin for Michael Waltrip Racing. He has a six-race deal to drive the races Martin does not.

Vickers will start 25th, and said Bristol is not the ideal track for a season debut.

“This would not be my pick,” he said. “If someone said, `OK, you’re going to be out of the car for a while, miss a few races and where do you want to start?’ it wouldn’t be Bristol. That’s all right.”

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