Date: March 13, 2015
Event: CampingWorld.com 500k Qualifying (Round 4 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (25.577 seconds at 140.751 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 25.577 seconds at 140.751 mph)
Kurt Busch (8th, 25.776 seconds at 139.665 mph)
Tony Stewart (17th, 25.952 seconds at 138.718 mph)
Danica Patrick (23rd, 26.031 seconds at 138.297 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Phoenix International Raceway by winning the pole for the CampingWorld.com 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. It was the 23rd Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s first this season.
Harvick turned a lap of 25.577 seconds at 140.751 mph in the third and final round of knockout qualifying on the 1-mile oval to score his 15th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his first in 25 races at Phoenix. Harvick won a series-leading eight poles last season on his way to the 2014 Sprint Cup championship.
“Everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser team is doing a great job,” said Harvick, who has a series-best six Sprint Cup wins at Phoenix (April 2006, November 2006, November 2012, November 2013, March 2014 and November 2014). “This is a pretty special place. Every week is just a new adventure, and it’s pretty special to be a part of a group of guys like this. They make great adjustments and just communicate and do the things we have to do to make the car better.”
Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 15 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 fastest 12 drivers from that session advanced to the final 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 speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified eighth with a time of 25.776 seconds at 139.665 mph.
“Phoenix is probably the track that I have the most amount of laps on in my career,” said Busch, who won at Phoenix in 2005. “It was great to roll right off the hauler and be toward the top of the chart. The team is building very competitive cars. I’m pleased with how I was able to get back in the seat and show some speed in the Haas Automation Chevy.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified 17th with a time of 25.952 seconds at 138.718 mph.
“We must’ve burned the brakes up in practice because when I went into turn one, the pedal went straight to the floor,” said Stewart, who won at Phoenix in 1999. “Qualifying wasn’t what we wanted, but we made gains on our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy in practice.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 23rd with a time of 26.031 seconds at 138.297 mph.
“We were just a little off during our qualifying run,” said Patrick, who will make her sixth 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.”
Joey Logano will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 25.615 seconds at 140.543 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-five drivers attempted to qualify for the 43-car field. Tanner Berryhill and Travis Kvapil did not make the race.