Burton, who will make just his seventh start in the series in Saturday's Kroger 250, set a track record for the series with a fast lap of 96.666 mph. He'll start first in an all-rookie front row after knocking Darrell Wallace Jr. off the pole as the last driver to make a qualifying attempt.
Burton, the 20-year-old son of former Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton from nearby Halifax, Va., made his series debut in this race last season. He qualified seventh and finished on the lead lap in 13th, but Friday's accomplishment trumped his already solid debut.
"I was crying like a baby when I got out of that race car," said Burton, who was still emotional in the post-race news conference. "It means a whole lot for me and my family."
Two other Rookie of the Year candidates locked up starting spots in the top 15. Brennan Newberry, the pole-sitter in the season opener at Daytona, qualified 10th and Ryan Blaney logged the 14th-fastest lap.
Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner, will start 16th Saturday.
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