Edwards, whose NASCAR Sprint Cup lead is a mere eight points with three races left, will be starting directly behind his closest chaser.
“Five hundred miles, we’ll see what happens,” Edwards said after qualifying seventh Friday, when his teammates at Roush Fenway Racing claimed the top three spots. “You couldn’t pick a better place to just race it out. This is gonna be a good one. I love this place.”
Stewart will start fifth, in the row ahead of Edwards.
Stewart won the fall race at Texas five years ago, when Jimmie Johnson was on the way to winning the first of his unprecedented five consecutive championships. Stewart has 10 top-10 finishes in his 19 starts in the Lone Star State.
But no one has won more Cup races at Texas than Edwards, who has three wins at the 1½-mile, high-banked track. He was third at the track in April, and certainly isn’t bothered by Stewart’s verbal challenge.
“No, it’s in good fun,” Edwards said. “We get along real well and, for me, this week I’ve thought a little bit about who my real competition is and, no offense to Tony or anything, but I think the guys that are behind him are truly the guys who have the biggest chance of doing well over the next three weeks.
“It would be foolish of me to just focus on him and not pay attention to these other guys who have been very, very fast.”
Greg Biffle took the pole with a lap of 193.736 mph. Biffle was the last to run a qualifying lap Friday and just beat out David Ragan 193.729.
TRUCKS SERIES: In Fort Worth, Texas, championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr. was knocked out of the NASCAR Truck Series race Friday night when Kyle Busch retaliated by pushing the four-time champion into the wall.
Only 15 laps into the race at Texas Motor Speedway, Hornaday and Busch made contact when trying to go three-wide around a slower truck. Both brushed the wall before the caution flag came out.
Busch then got behind Hornaday, and kept pushing until the No. 33 truck wound up in the wall. Busch’s truck also was damaged heavily, and NASCAR parked him for the race with possibly more penalties to come afterward.
Hornaday, who started the race only 15 points behind points leader Austin Dillon, described the incident as “just stupid” and that Busch knew he was in the championship race.
PATRICK’S PLAN: Danica Patrick will make her Sprint Cup debut in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February, her first of 10 races for Stewart-Haas Racing next season.
Team owner Tony Stewart says the team is set on eight of Patrick’s 10 races.