Date: May 9, 2014
Event: 5-hour Energy 400 Qualifying (Round 11 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (27.799 seconds at 194.658 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 27.799 seconds at 194.658 mph)
Kurt Busch (6th, 27.973 seconds at 193.043 mph)
Tony Stewart (8th, 28.045 seconds at 192.548 mph)
Danica Patrick (9th, 28.059 seconds at 192.452 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City by winning the pole for Saturday night’s 5-hour Energy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick turned a lap of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 mph on the 1.5-mile oval to set a new track record.
It was Harvick’s eighth career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his second at Kansas. The only other time Harvick won two poles in a single season was 2005. Harvick won the pole three races ago at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The last three races where Harvick has won the pole, he’s gone on to win the race – September 2006 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, October 2013 at Kansas and April 2014 at Darlington.
It was also the 16th Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s third this season, as Tony Stewart won the pole four races ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
“Just have to thank everybody on my Jimmy John’s Chevrolet for all that they do. It was ‘Freaky Fast’ today so just have to put it all together tomorrow night when it counts,” said Harvick, who broke the track’s previous qualifying record of 28.144 seconds at 191.864 mph set by Matt Kenseth on April 21, 2013. “The pole is great. These guys have done a great job for qualifying. It makes life a lot easier when you can have pit stall one. Hopefully, we can have a good night tomorrow night. The weekend has gone well we had a great test here a few weeks ago. Everything has carried right over.”
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 in the second round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
All of SHR’s drivers made it to the final round of knockout qualifying, just as they did last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified sixth with a time of 27.973 seconds at 193.043 mph.
“That was a great qualifying effort for Stewart-Haas Racing. Kevin Harvick on the pole and all four cars in the top-10 to start,” said Busch, who has one top-five and four top-10s in 16 Sprint Cup starts at Kansas. “As for us on the No. 41 Haas Automation team, that was the best all-around qualifying effort we’ve had all year. Our Chevrolet SS was stable all the way around the track and we were good from the start. Hopefully, this is something that we can build off moving forward. I’m really proud of my guys for their effort today.”
Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified eighth with a time of 28.045 seconds at 192.548 mph.
“My lap could’ve been better, but it wasn’t because of driver error,” said Stewart, who is a two-time winner at Kansas (2006 and 2009). “Still, we have a really good car. In fact, it looks like we all have good cars. Really proud of the team. We came a long way today after a rough first practice session.
“Also need to give credit to Mobil 1. With the repave here a couple years ago, this place has a ton of grip and is really fast. Mobil 1 is a technical partner of ours and their lubricants help reduce friction, heat and rolling resistance. Mobil 1 is in all of our cars, and all our cars qualified in the top-10. That’s not a coincidence.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified ninth with a time of 28.059 seconds at 192.452 mph. It is Patrick’s best Sprint Cup qualifying result at a non-restrictor plate track.
“Our whole camp was stellar today and that’s definitely a tribute to everybody at SHR,” said Patrick, who will make her fourth Sprint Cup start at Kansas Saturday. “It was a great effort across the board, and I’m so proud of all our guys. Our runs in the GoDaddy Chevy in each of the sessions were really consistent. The biggest thing has been listening to my teammates and taking their advice. We had our meeting before qualifying, and I think that was a big help. I learn a lot when I talk to them, and I took what they said today and used it on my laps and I think it showed. It was definitely a good day.”
Joey Logano will start on the outside of row one after timing in at 27.848 seconds at 193.910 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson, Busch, Ryan Newman, Stewart, Patrick, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray and Aric Almirola. All are listed in the order they’ll start Saturday night’s race.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the 43-car field. Dave Blaney was the lone driver who did not make the race.