Toyota Owners 400 Qualifying

Date:              April 26, 2013

Event:             Toyota Owners 400 (Round 9 of 36)

Series:            NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location:         Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (.75-mile oval)

Pole Winner:   Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (20.716 seconds at 130.334 mph – new track record)

SHR Lineup:    Ryan Newman (15th, 20.868 seconds at 129.385 mph)

                     Tony Stewart (21st, 20.912 seconds at 129.112 mph)

                     Danica Patrick (30th, 29.979 seconds at 128.700 mph)                        

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS, led the three-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway by qualifying 15th for the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night. Newman turned a lap of 20.868 seconds at 129.385 mph around the .75-mile oval.

“The track picks up a good bit,” said Newman, who won at Richmond in September 2003. “It’s kind of tough to gauge that speed when you are the first of a couple of cars out. But I’m proud of the guys on the Outback Chevrolet. They did a good job working through some adjustments today and I feel like we have a better handle on our race package than we do on our qualifying package.”

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, will start 21st after posting a lap of 20.912 seconds at 129.112 mph. 

“We’ll just have to see how we stack up there going out this early,” said Stewart, who is a three-time Sprint Cup winner at Richmond (September 1999, May 2001 and May 2002). “But this has been a good track for us and we’ll get after it tomorrow.”

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 30th after clocking in at 20.979 seconds at 128.700 mph.

“It’s a lot faster now than it was,” said Patrick, who has three NASCAR Nationwide Series and five IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Richmond, but will make her first Sprint Cup start at the track on Saturday. “It’s cooled off and it turned pretty well. Getting into the center it just felt like I was chasing the rear. So, that was a decent run. I think we had a decent pick-up and we’ll just see how that translates into the rest of the qualifying.”

Matt Kenseth captured his 10th career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his first at Richmond by turning a record lap of 20.716 seconds at 130.334 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 20.772 seconds at 129.983 mph set by Brian Vickers on May 14, 2004. 

Vickers will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 20.721 seconds at 130.303 mph. Jeff Gordon was third (20.729 seconds at 130.252 mph), while Kasey Kahne (20.740 seconds at 130.183 mph) and Clint Bowyer (20.744 seconds at 130.158 mph) rounded out the top-five. 

Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the Toyota Owners 400. All made the race since there are 43 starting positions in a Sprint Cup field. 

Toyota took the top spot among manufacturers via Kenseth’s pole run. Chevrolet was next-best at the hands of Gordon and Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to seventh-quick Joey Logano (20.808 seconds at 129.758 mph). 

The Toyota Owners 400 gets underway at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with a pre-race show at 7 p.m.