Date: Sept. 19, 2014
Event: Sylvania 300 Qualifying (Round 28 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (27.090 seconds at 140.598 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (3rd, 27.193 seconds at 140.065 mph)
Kurt Busch (15th, 27.413 seconds at 138.941 mph)
Danica Patrick (18th, 27.445 seconds at 138.779 mph)
Tony Stewart (28th, 27.676 seconds at 137.621 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon by setting the third-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick turned a lap of 27.193 seconds at 140.065 mph on the 1.058-mile oval in the final qualifying round.
“Those were huge improvements for our Budweiser team from what we had in practice, and I feel like it gave us a good direction for race trim,” said Harvick, who won at New Hampshire in September 2006. “I’m just real proud of everybody on our Budweiser team and I’m proud to be driving the Designate a Driver car this weekend. It sends a great message to everybody to drink responsibly. Have a good time, but have a plan to drink responsibly as you go out.”
Qualifying consisted of two rounds. The first was 30 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 12 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second and final, 10-minute round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance into the final round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 15th with a time of 27.413 seconds at 138.941 mph.
“The Haas Automation Chevrolet was just a little too tight in our second qualifying run,” said Busch, who is a three-time Sprint Cup winner at New Hampshire (July 2004, September 2004 and June 2008). “We slid the nose on both ends and just couldn’t get it to hook up like we wanted.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 18th with a time of 27.445 seconds at 138.779 mph.
“The first run was alright,” said Patrick, who will make her fourth Sprint Cup start at New Hampshire Sunday. “When I was coming around turn four and the car was stepping out just a little bit, if I would’ve kept it down would I have been able to pick up those four-hundredths that I needed? I don’t know and that’s the hard part when it’s so close. I’d rather be close and in the thick of things then looking back and saying how in the world am I going to find four-tenths.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 28th with a time of 27.676 seconds at 137.621 mph. Stewart is a three-time Sprint Cup winner at New Hampshire (July 2000, July 2005 and September 2011).
Brad Keselowski won the pole in the final round of knockout qualifying with a lap of 27.090 seconds at 140.598 mph, breaking the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 27.574 seconds at 138.130 mph set by Kyle Busch on July 11, 2014. It was his eighth career Sprint Cup pole, his fifth of the season and his third at New Hampshire.
Jamie McMurray will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 27.121 seconds at 140.437 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
The Sylvania 300 gets underway at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.