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Reutimann edges Gordon for Texas pole

FORT WORTH, Texas -- David Reutimann recently dubbed himself "The Franchise" at Michael Waltrip Racing, a tongue-in-cheek reference to his growing confidence and improving performance in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- David Reutimann recently dubbed himself "The Franchise" at Michael Waltrip Racing, a tongue-in-cheek reference to his growing confidence and improving performance in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

On Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, Reutimann backed up the franchise tag with a pole-winning performance at the 1.5-mile high-speed intermediate track, turning a lap in 28.344 seconds (190.517 mph) to edge Cup points leader Jeff Gordon (190.194 mph) for the top starting spot in Sunday's Samsung 500.

Matt Kenseth (189.954 mph) qualified third, followed by his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, David Ragan (189.934 mph). Paul Menard (189.907 mph) was fifth in Friday's time trials, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, three-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson and rookie Joey Logano.

Both Gordon and Kenseth said they raced through the third and fourth turns a bit more gingerly than they otherwise might have because of a strong tailwind into the third corner. Reutimann, on the other hand, didn't hold back in his No. 00 Toyota.

"Those guys think about things a lot more, I think, than I do sometimes," said Reutimann, whose only other Cup series pole came in last year's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I just flip the (helmet) shield down and go and pull the trigger and go as hard as I can.

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"There could have been a tornado down the backchute and a hurricane down the front, and I would have not known one way or the other. I just ran as hard as I could go and as fast as I could go, and it worked out OK."

Carl Edwards, who won both Texas races in 2008, will start 13th on Sunday. Clint Bowyer, second to Gordon in the championship standings, rolls off 19th, one spot ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"I was pretty pleased with the lap," said Gordon, who is winless in 16 starts at Texas. "With the wind gusts and the way it was, I played it a little bit conservative to get back to the throttle in (Turns) 3 and 4. We'd been fighting a little bit of a push, and it felt like the wind was contributing to it. So, we flew through (Turns) 1 and 2 and still put a really solid lap down."

For Kenseth, the qualifying lap was a vast improvement over a lackluster practice session earlier in the day.

"We were 34th in practice, so I knew we weren't going to be on the pole, but it's a lot better than I expected for us to be," Kenseth said. "That was a great qualifying lap. I didn't even dream we'd be close to the pole, to be quite honest with you."

Joe Nemechek, rookie Scott Speed, Jeremy Mayfield, Todd Bodine and Scott Riggs failed to qualify for the race.

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