Date: Aug. 2, 2013
Event: GoBowling.com 400 (Round 21 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Pole Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (49.819 seconds at 180.654 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Ryan Newman (4th, 49.999 seconds at 180.004 mph); Tony Stewart (20th, 50.553 seconds at 178.031 mph); Danica Patrick (34th, 51.177 seconds at 175.860 mph)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation 30th Anniversary Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway by qualifying fourth for the GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Newman turned a lap of 49.999 seconds at 180.004 mph around the 2.5-mile triangle.
“It was a good run,” said Newman, who won at Pocono in July 2003. “It was just an amazing effort in turning this Haas Automation Chevrolet around from Indianapolis (where Newman won). We picked up over a second from what we practiced. Awesome job by the guys.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS, will start 20th after posting a lap of 50.553 seconds at 178.031 mph.
“It wasn’t the lap we had hoped for, but we feel like we have a good piece in race trim,” said Stewart, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Pocono (June 2003 and June 2009). “We’ll know more tomorrow after practice, but we feel pretty good about our GoDaddy Chevy for Sunday.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 34th after clocking in at 51.177 seconds at 175.860 mph.
“Our GoDaddy Chevy was a little tight on our qualifying run,” said Patrick, who made her first Sprint Cup start at Pocono back in June. “Obviously, we had hoped to qualify better because I know how challenging it is to pass here. Today was the first time I had done any qualifying runs since the weather didn’t cooperate last time we were here, so it’s all still part of the learning process. The good thing is that I think our race setup is good. I felt like it was one of the more balanced cars we’ve had so far this year. So, I think we have a good direction to go for race runs.”
Jimmie Johnson captured his 31st career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his third at Pocono by turning a record lap of 49.819 seconds at 180.654 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 50.112 seconds at 179.598 mph set by Joey Logano on June 9, 2012.
Kyle Busch will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 49.823 seconds at 180.639 mph. Carl Edwards was third (49.950 seconds at 180.180 mph), while Newman and Kurt Busch (50.085 seconds at 179.695 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the GoBowling 400. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field.
Chevrolet took the top spot among manufacturers via Johnson’s pole run. Toyota was next-best at the hands of Kyle Busch. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to Edwards.
The GoBowling.com 400 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at noon.