Date: Oct. 24, 2014
Event: Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 Qualifying (Round 33 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Jamie McMurray of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (18.954 seconds at 99.905 mph)
SHR Lineup: Tony Stewart (4th, 19.070 seconds at 99.297 mph)
Kurt Busch (10th, 19.201 seconds at 98.620 mph)
Danica Patrick (30th, 19.341 seconds at 97.906 mph)
Kevin Harvick (33rd, 19.355 seconds at 97.835 mph)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway by setting the fourth-fastest lap in qualifying for the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Stewart turned a lap of 19.070 seconds at 99.297 mph on the .526-mile oval.
“Qualifying up front here is really important. It means pit stall selection and that’s the biggest thing,” said Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup winner at Martinsville (October 2000, April 2006 and October 2011). “That’s a good run for us. We haven’t qualified that well here in a while. I’m proud of Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the whole Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats/Mobil 1 team. They did an awesome job.”
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 the speeds of those who did not advance into the final round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 10th with a time of 19.201 seconds at 98.620 mph.
“The guys that ran up front that got the pole and the top-fives, they were fast,” said Busch, who has two Sprint Cup wins at Martinsville (October 2002 and March 2014). “I feel like we did a good job balancing the car for today’s package. We’ll learn from what we did today and apply that to race trim tomorrow. We have a race-winning setup, but we have to continue to evolve in this game.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 30th with a time of 19.341 seconds at 97.906 mph.
“We were just too loose on both of our runs. It’s disappointing because we’ve qualified better here in the past,” said Patrick, who will make her fourth Sprint Cup start at Martinsville on Sunday. “We’ve got two practices on Saturday and hopefully we can get the GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy working the way we want it to.”
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 33rd with a time of 19.355 seconds at 97.835 mph.
“We just missed it today. We were way too loose,” said Harvick, who won at Martinsville in April 2011. “We struggled in practice and just missed it in qualifying. We have to get better tomorrow and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Jamie McMurray won the pole in the final round of knockout qualifying with a lap of 18.954 seconds at 99.905 mph. It was his 11th career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his second at Martinsville.
Joey Logano will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 19.011 seconds at 99.605 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Matt Kenseth, Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
The Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 gets underway at 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.