Date: March 15, 2013
Event: Food City 500 Qualifying (Round 4 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (14.813 seconds at 129.535 mph)
SHR Lineup: Tony Stewart (8th, 14.990 seconds at 128.005 mph)
Ryan Newman (31st, 15.200 seconds at 126.237 mph)
Danica Patrick (41st, 15.395 seconds at 124.638 mph)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by qualifying eighth for Sunday’s Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Stewart turned a lap of 14.990 seconds at 128.005 mph on the .533-mile oval.
“It just shows how good these cars are,” said Stewart, who won at Bristol in August 2001. “To come out with a new car and have them drive this nice, that’s a pretty good deal. Our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy is good, and with two more practice sessions tomorrow, we can make it better for Sunday.”
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, will start 31st after cutting a lap of 15.200 seconds at 126.237 mph.
“We didn’t have the good lap that we needed today,” said Newman, who has 12 top-10 finishes in 22 career Sprint Cup starts at Bristol. “We made some changes before qualifying that we didn’t seem to hit on. Our Haas Automation Chevrolet felt a lot better in race trim than it did in qualifying trim, so I’m happy that we’re done with qualifying trim.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 41st after posting a lap of 15.395 seconds at 124.638 mph.
“That wasn’t the lap we were looking for,” said Patrick, who has only one previous Sprint Cup start at Bristol. “It’s disappointing because the Go Daddy Chevy was good in practice. We’re in a hole now for the race, but we’ve got two practices to make sure the car is good for Sunday.”
Kyle Busch captured his 11th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his first at Bristol by turning a track-record lap of 14.813 seconds at 129.535 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 14.908 seconds at 128.709 mph set by Newman on March 21, 2003.
Kasey Kahne will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 14.875 seconds at 128.995 mph. Denny Hamlin was third (14.879 seconds at 128.960 mph), while Brian Vickers (14.929 seconds at 128.528 mph) and Paul Menard (14.949 seconds at 128.356 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the 43-car field. Scott Riggs was the lone driver who did not make the race.
Toyota took the top spot among manufacturers via Busch’s record-setting pole run. Chevrolet was next best at the hands of Kahne. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to seventh-quick Brad Keselowski (14.966 seconds at 128.211mph).
The Food City 500 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 17 with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.