Date: July 5, 2013
Event: Qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (Round 18 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (46.458 seconds at 193.723 mph)
SHR Lineup: Danica Patrick (11th, 46.649 seconds at 192.930 mph); Tony Stewart (13th, 46.662 seconds at 192.876 mph); Ryan Newman (21st, 46.748 seconds at 192.522 mph)
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway by qualifying 11th for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night. Patrick turned a lap of 46.649 seconds at 192.930 mph around the 2.5-mile oval.
“It wasn’t the pole, but it gives us a decent starting spot,” said Patrick, who finished eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500 after starting from the pole. “We found some ways to get the GoDaddy Chevy better in practice yesterday and that should help us in the race.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 13th after clocking in at 46.662 seconds at 192.876 mph.
“I wish I could make it sound really exciting, but from a driver’s standpoint, today is really just a showcase of all the hard work teams do to prepare for this race,” said Stewart, who is a four-time winner of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012). “Our job is to watch the tach when we leave pit road, shift three times and then just try to hold a real steady, smooth wheel and let the Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy run what it’s going to run. My job gets a little more interesting tomorrow night.”
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for SHR, will start 21st after posting a lap of 46.748 seconds at 192.522 mph.
“I think our Outback Chevrolet will be competitive,” said Newman, who won the 2008 Daytona 500. “In restrictor-plate racing, to finish first, first you must finish, and we’ll see if we can put ourselves in position. You have a strategy, but you also have to let it play out. Part of your strategy is to have a Plan A, a Plan B, a Plan C and sometimes a Plan D. That all changes with the weather, track position and tires and what everybody else is doing at the same time, so we’ll see.”
Kyle Busch captured his 13th career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his first at Daytona by turning a lap of 46.458 seconds at 193.723.
Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 46.560 seconds at 193.299 mph. Clint Bowyer was third (46.594 seconds at 193.158 mph), while Kasey Kahne (46.595 seconds at 193.154 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (46.601 seconds at 193.129 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field.
Toyota took the top spot thanks to Busch’s pole run. Chevrolet was next best at the hands of Kahne. The top Ford was ninth-fastest Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (46.636 seconds at 192.984 mph).
The Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola gets underway at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with a pre-race show at 6:30 p.m.