Date: Nov. 7, 2014
Event: Phoenix 500k Qualifying (Round 35 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (25.332 seconds at 142.113 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (3rd, 25.353 seconds at 141.995 mph)
Kurt Busch (10th, 25.498 seconds at 141.188 mph)
Tony Stewart (29th, 25.863 seconds at 139.195 mph)
Danica Patrick (32nd, 25.927 seconds at 138.851 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Phoenix International Raceway by setting the third-fastest lap in qualifying for the Phoenix 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Harvick turned a lap of 25.353 seconds at 141.995 mph on the 1-mile oval
“I got up the racetrack a little bit the first lap in turn one, and on the second lap I got up the track in turns three and four. So, I just missed it by a little bit,” said Harvick, who has a series-best five Sprint Cup wins at Phoenix (April 2006, November 2006, November 2012, November 2013 and March 2014). “Our Budweiser Chevrolet is really good in race trim and we’re really looking forward to the race.”
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 final, 10-minute round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by the final-round speeds. The remaining 43-car field was set via the 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 10th with a time of 25.498 seconds at 141.188 mph.
“We gave it a good run in our Haas Automation Chevy,” said Busch, who won at Phoenix in 2005. “Thought the car was a little bit on edge entry and middle (of the corner). We were better when the track was warmer, and then when it cooled off we didn’t quite have the grip we expected. We actually ran the same time we did in practice as we did in qualifying, whereas everybody else picked up two tenths.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 29th with a time of 25.863 seconds at 139.195 mph.
“We’re better than that, we just didn’t time our qualifying runs well enough to match up with the track conditions,” said Stewart, who won at Phoenix in 1999. “We were decent in practice and we have two more sessions tomorrow to get the Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy right for Sunday.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 32nd with a time of 25.927 seconds at 138.851 mph.
“We were just tight during our qualifying run,” said Patrick, who will make her fifth Sprint Cup start at Phoenix Sunday. “We’ll get the GoDaddy Chevrolet ready for Sunday. It’s an important day with GoDaddy being based here, so we want to run well.”
Denny Hamlin won the pole in the final round of knockout qualifying with a lap of 25.332 seconds at 142.113 mph. It was his 20th career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his second at Phoenix.
Brad Keselowski will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 25.338 seconds at 142.079 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Harvick, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson, Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Casey Mears. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Logano broke the track qualifying record in the first round with a fast lap of 25.327 seconds at 142.141 mph, topping the previous mark of 25.828 seconds at 139.384 mph set by Keselowski on Feb. 28, 2014.
The Phoenix 500k gets underway at 3 p.m. EST Sunday with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 2 p.m.