Date: May 30, 2014
Event: FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks Qualifying (Round 13 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
Pole Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (21.892 seconds at 164.444 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (8th, 22.154 seconds at 162.499 mph)
Tony Stewart (20th, 22.147 seconds at 162.550 mph)
Kurt Busch (24th, 22.221 seconds at 162.009 mph)
Danica Patrick (28th, 22.274 seconds at 161.623 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway by setting the eighth-fastest lap in qualifying for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Harvick turned a lap of22.154 seconds at 162.499 mph on the 1-mile, concrete oval.
“The car was just too free to get the lap we needed in qualifying,” said Harvick, who has three top-fives and 12 top-10s in 26 career Sprint Cup starts at Dover. “Overall, the Budweiser Chevy was fast in race trim this morning, so we’ll just work on that a bit more tomorrow to get it ready for Sunday.”
Qualifying consisted of two rounds. The first was 30 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 12 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second and final round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds recorded in the final round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance into the final round.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 20th with a time of 22.147 seconds at 162.550 mph.
“The car felt like it was up on top of the track,” said Stewart, a three-time Dover winner and the defending winner of the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. “As cool as it’s been today and as good as we were in practice, I thought we’d be better than that. But with two practices tomorrow, we should be able to get our Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevy ready for Sunday.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 24th with a time of22.221 seconds at 162.009 mph.
“The Haas Automation Chevrolet was just too tight to accomplish what we needed to in qualifying today,” said Busch, who won at Dover in October 2011. “We have two practices tomorrow to figure out how to free it up. We’ll go back and look at our notes, our teammates’ notes and the simulation to see what we might be able to do to get it going in the right direction.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 28th with a time of 22.274 seconds at 161.623 mph.
“We were just a bit too tight,” said Patrick, who will make her fourth Sprint Cup start at Dover Sunday. “We weren’t that far off, but we just missed it by a little on the GoDaddy Chevy. We’ve got a couple of days to work on it and I think we have a pretty good racecar.”
Brad Keselowski won the pole in the final round of knockout qualifying with a lap of 21.892 seconds at 164.444 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 22.243 seconds at 161.849 mph set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sept. 27, 2013. It was Keselowski’s fifth career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his first at Dover.
Kyle Busch will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 21.980 seconds at 163.785 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Harvick, Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger and Greg Biffle. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field.