Date: Sept. 26, 2014
Event: AAA 400 (Round 29 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
Pole Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (22.095 seconds at 162.933 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 22.095 seconds at 162.933 mph in Round 2)
Danica Patrick (13th, 22.333 seconds at 161.196 mph in Round 1)
Tony Stewart (15th, 22.358 seconds at 161.016 mph in Round 1)
Kurt Busch (22nd, 22.426 seconds at 160.528 mph in Round 1)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway by winning the pole for the AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. It was the 21st Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s eighth this season.
Harvick turned a lap of 22.095 seconds at162.933 mph on the 1-mile, concrete-oval to score his 13th career Sprint Cup pole, his series-high seventh of the season and his first at Dover. Prior to this year, the most poles Harvick ever won in a single season were two in 2005.
“It is exciting,” said Harvick, who has three top-fives and 12 top-10s in 27 career Sprint Cup starts at Dover. “These guys do an awesome job in preparing the racecars. The first time here this year we struggled a little bit after we unloaded, but they had it good by Saturday. We unloaded really good this time and it has carried through the weekend. So, just really happy for everybody on our Budweiser Chevrolet.”
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 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.
Harvick has gone on to win the race from the pole four times in his career – August 2003 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 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.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 13th with a time of 22.333 seconds at 161.196 mph.
“I was just too tight on the opening run,” said Patrick, who will make her fifth Sprint Cup start at Dover Sunday. “But we were better than we were in practice and I’ve never qualified in the top-20 at Dover, so I’ll take it. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the GoDaddy guys did a good job and we are getting there.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, qualified 15th with a time of 22.358 seconds at 161.016 mph.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified 22nd with a time of 22.426 seconds at 160.528 mph.
“We were just too tight,” said Busch, who won at Dover in October 2011. “On the first attempt, the Haas Automation Chevrolet felt like it didn’t even want to think about turning into (turn) one. We made some adjustments and went out for a second attempt, but it was even tighter. We have two practice sessions tomorrow to dial it in for Sunday’s race.”
Kyle Busch will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 22.167 seconds at 162.404 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.