Qualifying for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway was rained out Saturday, and according to NASCAR rules, the lineup for today's race are based on Friday's practice runs.
Edwards posted the fasted time at the practice session at 199.675, giving him the pole.
"We looked at the forecast and we were all concerned that there wasn't going to be a single car qualifying," Edwards said.
So he approached practice looking to get a time that would allow him to start up front.
"We thought we were the only ones with that idea," he said, "but it was like a heat race out there."
Edwards said he didn't get his fast time until there was about a minute left in the practice run.
"Everybody was doing everything they could to lag back and partner up and get the fastest lap times they could, and it was pretty exciting," Edwards said.
Martin Truex Jr. will start second after posting a 199.650.
"The beginning of practice was kind of crazy," he said. "It was something that you never see, and I think we ran the first three laps half throttle and everybody was trying to figure out a way to get to the back of the pack so they could get that run. And we fortunately were able to get in that position."
He added he wanted to start up front for today's race in particular, because it is a restrictor-plate race. He compared it to Daytona, which is the only other restrictor-plate track on the Sprint Cup circuit besides Talladega.
"I think based on what we learned at Daytona, you want to be up front," Truex said. "Coming in here, my thought was I've tried the riding around in the middle of the pack, toward the back of the pack, trying to stay safe until the end, and it's never worked out.
"So my plan coming in here was to be aggressive, to try to stay up front all day long. We did that at Daytona, and it worked out for us until we had our engine problem late in the race."
Marcos Ambrose is third at 199.608. Like Edwards and Truex, he said practice was unusual.
"We were all driving like idiots out there in that first practice, knowing it was probably going to ran (Saturday), and we just sore of had to get a run and try to make something happen," he said.