Date: Aug. 1, 2014
Event: GoBowling.com 400 Qualifying (Round 21 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Pole Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (49.063 seconds at 183.438 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kurt Busch (4th, 49.272 seconds at 182.660 mph)
Kevin Harvick (6th, 49.426 seconds at 182.090 mph)
Danica Patrick (10th, 49.547 seconds at 181.646 mph)
Tony Stewart (16th, 49.802 seconds at 180.716 mph)
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway by setting the fourth-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Busch turned a lap of49.272 seconds at 182.660 mph around the 2.5-mile triangle.
“It was a good day for the Haas Automation team,” said Busch, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Pocono (July 2005 and August 2007). “We were in position to get a pole. We had speed in practice and all the way through our three runs. We picked up time in our final run and we need to do more of that. We picked up speed on that last outing, but it just wasn’t enough. Guys beat us today and we ended up fourth. The Haas Automation Chevrolet was really good though. Let’s just make sure we have that balance after happy hour tomorrow.”
Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 25 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 24 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second, 10-minute round. The fastest 12 drivers from that session advanced to the final, five-minute round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round. Positions 13-24 were set by speeds posted in the second round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified sixth with a time of 49.426 seconds at 182.090 mph.
“I had a good (turns) one and two,” said Harvick, who has five top-five finishes in 27 starts at Pocono. “Just got the Mobil 1 Chevrolet in there and got a little bit too low. The car was a little bit loose in (turn) three and I had to peddle it all the way from the center out. It was still a good lap. The guys have done a good job and just have to get it right for race trim now.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 10th with a time of 49.547 seconds at 181.646 mph.
“Just a great job by everyone on the GoDaddy Chevrolet today,” said Patrick, who will make her fourth Sprint Cup start at Pocono Sunday. “It’s so hard to get every corner at Pocono just right, and our car was really close on that final run. Turn two was just a little off, but all-in-all it was such a solid pickup for us from the first round of qualifying. I’m really proud of all the guys. A 10th-place qualifying effort was a nice way to finish a good day.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 16thwith a time of 49.802 seconds at 180.716 mph.
“I didn’t get into turn one very well,” said Stewart, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Pocono (June 2003 and June 2009). “It was pretty good everywhere else – just missed it in (turn) one. The Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet was good in race trim. We’ll work on it more tomorrow but should be in pretty good shape for Sunday.”
Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson won the pole in the final round of knockout qualifying with a lap of 49.063 seconds at 183.438 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 49.610 seconds at 181.415 mph set by Denny Hamlin on June 6, 2014. It was his first career Sprint Cup pole.
Joey Logano will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 49.071 seconds at 183.408 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Patrick, Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the GoBowling.com 400. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field.