Date: April 5, 2013
Event: STP Gas Booster 500 Qualifying (Round 6 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (19.244 seconds at 98.400 mph)
SHR Lineup: Ryan Newman (10th, 19.330 seconds at 97.962 mph)
Tony Stewart (26th, 19.478 seconds at 97.217 mph)
Danica Patrick (32nd, 19.542 seconds at 96.899 mph)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway by qualifying 10th for the STP Gas Booster 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Newman turned a lap of 19.330 seconds at 97.962 mph around the .526-mile oval.
“We were a little loose on corner entry, but overall, I was pretty happy with the job the guys did getting this Quicken Loans Chevrolet ready for qualifying,” said Newman, who is the defending winner of the STP Gas Booster 500.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, will start 26th after posting a lap of 19.478 seconds at 97.217 mph.
“That wasn’t very good. We’ll just take what it gives us here and work hard on this Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevy tomorrow in practice to get it ready for Sunday,” said Stewart, who is a three-time Sprint Cup winner at Martinsville (October 2000, April 2006 and October 2011).
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 32nd after posting a lap of 19.542 seconds at 96.899 mph.
“We backed up our time from practice, but we’re in a position where we need to keep picking up,” said Patrick, who will make her 16th career Sprint Cup start on Sunday, but her first at Martinsville. “We were looking good getting into (turn) three, but it got loose on entry and we lost all of our time there. Other than that, the rest of the track was fine. If we can just get the rear of the car more comfortable on entry, then the Go Daddy Chevy will be pretty good.”
Jimmie Johnson captured his 30th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his third at Martinsville by turning a record lap of 19.244 seconds at 98.400 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 19.306 seconds at 98.083 mph set by Stewart on Oct. 21, 2005.
Marcos Ambrose will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 19.251 seconds at 98.364 mph. Brian Vickers was third (19.266 seconds at 98.287 mph), while Joey Logano (19.269 seconds at 98.272 mph) and Kasey Kahne (19.286 seconds at 98.185 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the STP Gas Booster 500. The lone driver failing to make the 43-car field was Mike Bliss.
Chevrolet took the top spot among manufacturers via Johnson’s pole run. Ford was next-best at the hands of Ambrose. Toyota was the third-fastest make thanks to Vickers.
The STP Gas Booster 500 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with a pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.