Date: Oct. 3, 2014
Event: Hollywood Casino 400 Qualifying (Round 30 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 (27.325 seconds at 197.621 mph in Round 3)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 27.325 seconds at 197.621 mph in Round 3)
Tony Stewart (9th, 27.619 seconds at 195.518 mph in Round 3)
Kurt Busch (24th, 27.832 seconds at 194.021 mph in Round 2)
Danica Patrick (29th, 28.111 seconds at 192.096 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 Kansas Speedway in Kansas City by winning the pole for the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. It was the 22nd Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s ninth this season.
Harvick turned a lap of 27.325 seconds at 197.621 mph in the third and final round of knockout qualifying on the 1.5-mile oval to score his 14th career Sprint Cup pole, his series-high eighth of the season and his third straight at Kansas. Prior to this year, the most poles Harvick ever won in a single season were two in 2005.
“Just have to thank everybody on my Budweiser team for staying focused, continuing to build better racecars and controlling all the things that we can control,” said Harvick, who won last year’s Hollywood Casino 400 from the pole. “Our cars are fast, we’re qualifying well, our pit stops are good, cars are reliable and everything is good.”
Harvick also broke his own track qualifying record in the second round with a fast lap of 27.304 seconds at 197.773 mph, topping the previous mark of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 mph set by Harvick on May 9, 2014 when he won the pole in the series’ last visit to Kansas.
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 12 fastest 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 the speeds of those who did not advance past the first 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 and April 2014 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified ninth with a time of 27.619 seconds at 195.518 mph.
“Today was a good sign that we’ll have a good day tomorrow and keep our Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevy balanced to where we’ll have something we can work with on Sunday,” said Stewart, who is a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Kansas (2006 and 2009). “Kevin’s lap at 197 mph on a 1.5-mile oval is pretty fast for a stock car. It’s pretty impressive. I remember when I started in these things 16 years ago, we didn’t even think about running 197 for an average. They barely ran 197 at the top end. The rules package right now gives us so much downforce that you can just fly around here.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 24th with a time of 27.832 seconds at 194.021 mph.
“We were just too tight to go as fast as we needed today,” said Busch, who has one top-five and four top-10 finishes in 16 Sprint Cup starts at Kansas. “We worked hard to get as much as we could out of the Haas Automation Chevrolet, but we just came up short. We’ll keep working on it to get it better come race time.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 29th with a time of 28.111 seconds at 192.096 mph.
“We were just too tight on all three runs,” said Patrick, who will make her fifth Sprint Cup start at Kansas Sunday. “Hopefully, we can get the Aspen Dental Chevrolet better for Sunday. We have two practice sessions tomorrow to work on it.”
Brian Vickers will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 27.508 seconds at 196.307 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.