Date: May 8, 2015
Event: Qualifying for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 (Round 11 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (28.067 seconds at 192.397 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (6th, 28.228 seconds at 191.299 mpH
Kurt Busch (8th, 28.294 seconds at 190.853 mph)
Tony Stewart (16th, 28.345 seconds at 190.510 mph)
Danica Patrick (27th, 28.519 seconds at 189.347 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 Kansas Speedway in Kansas City by setting the sixth-fastest lap in qualifying for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night. Harvick turned a lap of 28.228 seconds at 191.299 mph on the 1.5-mile oval in the final round of knockout qualifying.
“The Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet was good all day, but it just got a little too tight there in the final round of qualifying,” said Harvick, who won at Kansas in October 2013 from the pole.
Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 20 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, 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 speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified eighth with a time of 28.294 seconds at 190.853 mph.
“We had an eventful four laps of qualifying this time around,” said Busch, who has one top-five and four top-10 finishes in 18 career Sprint Cup starts at Kansas. “Our Haas Automation Chevrolet was right on the brink of being eliminated in round two as the 12th-place guy. We had to make an extra lap, so we didn’t really get a chance to cool things down for that run. I think all in all, we survived and we learned a little bit about what we did in race trim and what that did to us in qualifying trim, so now we’ll balance that out. We always have to learn something from qualifying and bring it into the race, and I think we did that.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 16th with a time of 28.345 seconds at 190.510 mph.
“Our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy was pretty good in turns one and two, but in was tight in the center of turns three and four,” said Stewart, who is a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Kansas (2006 and 2009).
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 27th with a time of 28.519 seconds at 189.347 mph.
“The GoDaddy Chevy was just too tight on both runs,” said Patrick, who will make her sixth Sprint Cup start at Kansas Saturday night. “I’m surprised the first run wasn’t a bit faster than that. I felt like I got back to the throttle really well, but I had to get on the brake a bit to get the car to turn, and that hurt our time.”
Joey Logano led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 28.067 seconds at 192.397 mph. It was his 12th career Sprint Cup pole, his series-leading fourth of the season and his first at Kansas.
Kasey Kahne will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 28.138 seconds at 191.911 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Harvick, Greg Biffle, Busch, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Jeff Gordon and Erik Jones. All are listed in the order they’ll start the race.