Date:                May 17, 2013

Event:               Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race/Sprint Showdown (non-point events)

Series:              NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location:          Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Pole Winners:   NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race – Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing (111.297 seconds at 145.556 mph) 

                       Sprint Showdown – Martin Truex Jr. of Michael Waltrip Racing (27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph) 

SHR Lineup:      Ryan Newman (11th, 114.716 seconds at 141.218 mph; NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race)

                       Tony Stewart (13th, 115.379 seconds at 140.407 mph; NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race)

                       Danica Patrick (7th, 28.412 seconds at 190.061 mph; Sprint Showdown)

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS, led Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in time trials Friday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway by qualifying 11th for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Newman’s time of 114.716 seconds at 141.218 mph, which included three timed laps around the 1.5-mile oval with a four-tire pit stop, placed him 11th among the 19 drivers already eligible for the 29th running of the non-points event.

“That was a pretty cool qualifying deal,” said Newman, who won the 2002 All-Star Race as a Sprint Cup rookie. “Coming to pit road like that with no speed limit, entering and exiting at speed, I don’t know that I’ve ever done that. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea. We obviously weren’t as fast as we would’ve liked. The guys made some adjustments to the Aspen Dental Chevrolet prior to qualifying, and while the changes were good, I think we needed just a little more. We’ll start a little farther back than I would like to, but we’ll see what we can do once the race starts.”

Joining Newman in the All-Star Race is SHR driver/owner Tony Stewart. The pilot of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Federation Chevrolet SS will start the All-Star Race from the 13th position, as he qualified with a time of 115.379 seconds at 140.407 mph.

“That’ the coolest qualifying run I’ve ever had. You can only imagine what it was like years ago when there was no speed limit and guys did that for real,” said Stewart, who has participated in each All-Star Race since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a rookie in 1999, and won the 2009 All-Star Race. “Our Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Federation Chevy is decent – at least it was during the daytime when we practiced. Hopefully, that bodes well for us tomorrow night.”

Looking to join her SHR teammates in the All-Star Race by racing her way into the event via the undercard Sprint Showdown is Danica Patrick. Qualifying for the Sprint Showdown consists of just two timed laps, just like qualifying for a regular, point-paying Sprint Cup race. Patrick drove her No. 10 GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet SS to a fast time of 28.412 seconds at 190.061 mph to place seventh in the 23-car field.

“I feel like we made improvements to the GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet throughout the day,” said Patrick, who will make her first Sprint Showdown appearance Saturday night. “We had a good debrief with Tony (Stewart) and Ryan (Newman), and I feel like something we did for qualifying might’ve been worth some grip in the middle of the corner, which is something I was looking for. Hopefully this translates to a good racecar – something consistent. It’s just so tough in the middle of the day when it’s hot and slippery out there. I feel like we made some progress and hopefully we have a good racecar for tomorrow. I’d love to race my way in, and that’s the plan.” 

The Sprint Showdown is conducted prior to the 90-lap All-Star Race, which is made up of five segments consisting of 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps. The All-Star Race is open to drivers and owners who have won a race in 2012 or 2013, in addition to All-Star Race winners and Sprint Cup champions from the past 10 years. 

Patrick will try to get into the All-Star Race by competing in the 40-lap Sprint Showdown. It consists of two 20-lap segments, with the top-two drivers from the final segment advancing into the All-Star Race. In addition, the driver who wins a fan vote will also race in the All-Star Race. In order to be the recipient of the fan vote, the selected driver must have a raceable car at the end of the Sprint Showdown and not be one of the top-two drivers. 

Carl Edwards will start the All-Star Race from the pole (111.297 seconds at 145.556 mph), while Kurt Busch will start alongside Edwards on the outside of row one, as he timed in at 112.447 seconds at 144.068 mph. Greg Biffle (112.706 seconds at 143.737 mph), Kyle Busch (112.754 seconds at 143.676 mph) and Joey Logano (112.991 seconds at 143.374 mph) completed the top-five.

Ford took the top spot among manufacturers via Edwards’ pole run. Chevrolet was next-best at the hands of Kurt Busch. Toyota was the third-fastest make thanks to Kyle Busch. 

Martin Truex Jr. will start the Sprint Showdown from the pole (27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph), while Jamie McMurray will start alongside Truex on the outside of row one, as he timed in at 28.023 seconds at 192.699 mph. Juan Pablo Montoya (28.075 seconds at 192.342 mph), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (28.804 seconds at 192.280 mph) and Casey Mears (28.290 seconds at 190.880 mph) completed the top-five.

As far as manufacturers went in Sprint Showdown qualifying, Toyota was first via Truex’s pole-winning time. Chevrolet was next-best at the hands of McMurray. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to Stenhouse. 

The All-Star Race gets underway on Saturday, May 18 at 9 p.m. EDT after the undercard Sprint Showdown is completed. SPEED will carry live coverage of both races beginning at 7 p.m., with its “RaceDay” program beginning at 4 p.m.