Date: July 26, 2014
Event: Qualifying for the 21st Annual Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph – Round 3)
Tony Stewart (6th, 48.337 seconds at 186.193 mph – Round 3)
Kurt Busch (7th, 48.402 seconds at 185.943 mph – Round 3)
Danica Patrick (14th, 48.546 seconds at 185.391 mph – Round 2)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by winning the pole during qualifying for the 21stannual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. It was the 18th Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s fifth this season.
Harvick turned a record lap of 47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph on the 2.5-mile oval in the final round of qualifying, breaking the previous track qualifying record of 47.992 seconds at 187.531 mph set by former SHR driver Ryan Newman on July 28, 2013. It was Harvick’s 10th career pole, his fourth this season and his second at Indianapolis. Prior to this year, the most poles Harvick ever won in a single season were two in 2005.
“After the first lap, I was probably more nervous than I have been in a while for qualifying,” said Harvick, who won at Indianapolis in 2003. “I wasn’t really expecting to have our Jimmy John’s Chevy run that fast. It’s great to have fast cars. The guys at SHR do a great job preparing the cars, and just being able to come to the racetrack and know the cars are going to be fast takes a huge burden off everybody’s shoulders.”
Harvick’s most recent pole came June 16 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, five races ago.Harvick has gone on to win the race from the pole four times in his career – August 2003 at Indianapolis, September 2006 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, October 2013 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and April 2014 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
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.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified sixth with a time of 48.337 seconds at 186.193 mph.
“We had an awesome day today and the guys on this Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops team did a great job,” said Stewart, who is a two-time Brickyard 400 winner (2005 and 2007) and former Brickyard 400 pole winner (2002) and hails from nearby Columbus, Indiana. “The entire Stewart-Haas organization did a good job. This is a big motor track, so our Hendrick engines filled with Mobil 1 did a good job. Mobil 1 is more than just a sponsor. They’re a technical partner, and to make a fast lap around this place, you need to do whatever you can to reduce friction, heat and rolling resistance. That’s what Mobil 1 does for us. Now, we just have to put the whole day together tomorrow.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified seventh with a time of48.402 seconds at 185.943 mph.
“That was a thrilling experience to have to make three runs at Indianapolis in a stock car,” said Busch, who ran the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in May. “Indianapolis is getting to be one of the toughest places to qualify. It’s a thrilling experience to be a part of it. We made the final group and we made some good changes we made big changes going into that last run, almost like an all or nothing change. Came home seventh and real proud of the effort of the Haas Automation guys. It was fun to be in that final group with the fast guys.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 14th with a time of 48.546 seconds at 185.391 mph.
“We struggled with a tight car in the first round,” said Patrick, who will make her second Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis. “We barely got in, but in the second round we freed it up and ran 14th. That’s about where we were in practice, so I’ll take it. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the GoDaddy guys did a good job and we’ve got a good spot for tomorrow.”
Jeff Gordon will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 47.931 seconds at 187.770 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Brad Keselowski, Newman, Brian Vickers, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-six drivers attempted to qualify for the Brickyard 400. Brett Moffitt, David Stremme and Matt Crafton did not make the field.
The 21st annual Brickyard 400 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at noon.