In Southern California, the land of contrasts, the weather is just that. It’s a bright overcast day at Auto Club Speedway for Saturday’s NASCAR events. It’s cool and bright, breezy with a hazy overcast… but the snowcapped mountains are still quite visible. The grandstands are randomly occupied by a few fans.

CARL EDWARDS/No.Scotts 60 Ford has the pole for the Saturday afternoon Stater Bros 300 Race with a lap of 40.068/179.695 mph. It didn’t break the existing record of 180.410 mph set by DAVE BLANEY in February 2007. Last year the field was set on points due to rain. Stats could be on Edwards’ side as his car owner, JACK ROUSH, has won six previous NNS races, more than any other car owner.

This was Edwards 12th pole position in 143 NNS starts.

Last season it was down to the last race between Edwards and CLINT BOWYER as to who would win the NNS championship. Edwards won the race, but Bowyer finished fifth at the last race at Homestead Miami Speedway and  sealed the championship.

Immediately following the Pole Position ceremonies, Edwards was whisked to another side of the track to be inducted into the Auto Club Speedway Walk of Fame. He placed his bronze plaque in the imprint along with an imprint of both feet. He then signed his signature and No.99 (his Sprint Cup car number). Edwards, who is known for his wide toothy smile, joked “That’s a whole lot of teeth in bronze.” He was also presented with a No.99 surfboard by OHANA KEMP. builder of custom-made surfboards.

KYLE BUSH/No.18 Z-Line Designs Toyota was the second fastest qualifier. Both Edwards and Bush are Sprint Cup regulars who plan to run the full NNS Series.

Rookie MICHAEL McDOWELL/No.47 Pacific Packaging Group Toyota was third. He just recently found the sponsorship to be able to run the first fifteen NNS races with the JTG Daugherty team. The team is still seeking sponsorship for the remaining races. This is the seventh NNS start for McDowell, and the first time he’s run Auto Club Speedway. McDowell comes from a karting and open wheel background including two seasons in the Star Mazda series where he was the 203 Rookie of the Year and 2004 Champion. He moved to ARCA where he did well, and has run 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Races, winning top Rookie six times.

Fourth was NNS regular, MIKE BLISS/No.1 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet, followed by Cup regular, GREG BIFFLE/No.16 CitiFinancial Ford.

Four drivers failed to qualify: SCOTT WIMMER/No.40 Key Motorsports Chevrolet; JOHN BORNEMAN III/No.22 Twisted X Boots Ford; MICHAEL HARMON/No.84. Chevrolet; and ANDY PONSTEIN/No.01 Show Biz Graphics Chevrolet.

The Manufacturer Lineup is: Chevrolet-21/3 DNQ; Toyota-1-/0 DNQ; Ford-7/1 DNQ; and Dodge-5/0 DNQ.

The NNS race will start at 7:45 PM EST/4:45 PM PST, airing live on ESPN 2 starting at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST. It is 150 laps/300 miles on the two-mile tri-oval superspeedway.