Date: July 27, 2013
Event: Qualifying for the 20th AnnualBrickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing (47.992 seconds at 187.531 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Ryan Newman (1st, 47.992 seconds at 187.531 mph)
Tony Stewart (5th, 48.173 seconds at 186.827 mph)
Danica Patrick (33rd, 49.197 seconds at 182.938 mph)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans/Smurfs 2 Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by capturing the pole for the 20th annual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday.
Newman turned a lap of 47.992 seconds at 187.531 mph on the 2.5-mile oval, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 48.311 seconds at 186.293 mph set by Casey Mears on Aug. 7, 2004. This is Newman’s 50thcareer pole, his first of the season and his first at Indianapolis. Newman is the ninth driver in Sprint Cup history to earn at least 50 poles.
“I’ll admit, I was emotional,” said Newman, who grew up in South Bend, Ind., located about three hours north of Indianapolis, and whose best career Brickyard 400 finish was fourth in 2002. “It’s special because it is the Brickyard, and I hadn’t won a pole here before even though I’ve won so many poles. It’s special to me for a lot of reasons – being home here in Indiana, being at the Brickyard, being so long since I won a pole. The Quicken Loans/Smurfs 2 Chevrolet was really good. I don’t know that we caught a cloud or anything. Just a great effort today for Chevrolet, and all the other things we’ve got going on here. Good day for Stewart-Haas Racing, and hopefully we can turn it into a good day tomorrow and ‘Bring it Home’ for Quicken Loans.”
Five lucky fans who have registered for Quicken Loans’ season-long “Bring It Home” promotion will cash in if Newman finishes in the top-five in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, as Quicken Loans will pay five people’s mortgages for a month. Fans simply need to visit www.qlracing.com to register.
Newman’s quick time secured the 12th Sprint Cup pole for SHR since the team’s inception in 2009. The last SHR driver to claim the top spot was Danica Patrick, who won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, 19 races ago. With poles in this year’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, SHR is the first team to sweep the poles at both races since 2008 when Hendrick Motorsports earned the pole at both races via Jimmie Johnson.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, will start fifth after posting a lap of 48.173 seconds at 186.827 mph.
“That was a pretty good lap for us,” said Stewart, who is a two-time Brickyard 400 winner (2005 and 2007) and former Brickyard 400 pole winner (2002) and hails from nearby Columbus, Ind. “We made adjustments between the final practice session and qualifying, and I’m really happy with our Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy. I feel like we have a car we can race with tomorrow. There are about 10 really good cars in the field and I feel like we’re right there in the hunt. We have an advantage with Mobil 1 in our engine and throughout our entire car, really. Mobil 1 is more than just a sponsor. They’re a technical partner, and to make a fast lap around this place, you need to do whatever you can to reduce friction, heat and rolling resistance. That’s what Mobil 1 does for us. Now, we just have to put the whole day together tomorrow.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 33rd after clocking in at 49.197 seconds at 182.938 mph.
“Well, it was consistent the whole lap,” said Patrick, who despite being a Sprint Cup rookie, has plenty of experience at Indianapolis, having made seven Indianapolis 500 starts with a total of six top-10 finishes and 29 laps led. “In our practice and qualifying runs, it was pretty decent and then we’d get really tight off of turn four, which is a tough problem to fix because you’re looking for some odd issue that’s making it really tight on the last corner. So the positive side is that it was consistent the whole way around the track. It was just consistently tight. So, I just couldn’t really carry the speed I needed through the center (of the corner), especially getting flat off. We’ll work on it and hopefully have a good day with the GoDaddy Chevy tomorrow.”
Jimmie Johnson will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 48.016 seconds at 187.438 mph. Carl Edwards was third (48.088 seconds at 187.157 mph), while Denny Hamlin (48.097 seconds at 187.122 mph) and Stewart rounded out the top-five.
Forty-five drivers attempted to qualify for the Brickyard 400. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Mike Bliss and Scott Speed.
Chevrolet took the top spot among manufacturers via Newman’s pole run. Ford was next-best at the hands of Edwards. Toyota was the third-fastest make thanks to Hamlin.
The Brickyard 400 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at noon.