Date: July 25, 2015
Event: Qualifying for the 22nd Annual Jeff Kyle Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Carl Edwards of Joe Gibbs Racing (49.056 seconds at 183.464 mph)
SHR Lineup: Tony Stewart (4th, 49.228 seconds at 182.823 mph)
Kevin Harvick (6th, 49.329 seconds at 182.448 mph)
Kurt Busch (14th, 49.161 seconds at 183.072 mph)
Danica Patrick (15th, 49.180 seconds at 183.001 mph)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by setting the fourth-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s 22nd annual Jeff Kyle Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Stewart turned a lap of 49.228 seconds at 182.823 mph on the 2.5-mile oval in the final round of qualifying to earn his best starting spot this season.
“I’m excited about being in the top two rows for Sunday,” said Stewart, a two-time Brickyard 400 winner (2005 and 2007) and former Brickyard 400 pole winner (2002) who hails from nearby Columbus, Indiana. “It’s the way you want to start the weekend, for sure. To have two good runs in qualifying and get a decent starting spot – that’s definitely what we were looking for today."
Qualifying consisted of two rounds of single-car qualifying, with drivers getting one timed, green-flag lap per round. The fastest 12 drivers from the first round advanced to the final round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round, while the remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
“We set the fastest time in the first round. It’s not the one that pays, but it got us into the second round, which was the important part,” Stewart said. “The second round we were a little bit freer than we were the first round. I was a little busy inside the Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy. We got that track bar adjuster and I was moving it around quite a bit during the lap.”
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified sixth with a time of 49.329 seconds at 182.448 mph.
“Obviously, you want the pole, but I think as you look at both laps, we had the same problem – just too tight in turn three,” said Harvick, who won the 2003 Brickyard 400. “But I think we’ll be OK in our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevy. We’ll need to get up front. Track position will be important.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 14th with a time of 49.161 seconds at 183.072 mph.
“I overdrove turns one and three on that lap,” said Busch, who has four top-10 finishes in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis. “We’d like to be starting a little closer to the front, but we’ll see what we can do as far as racing our way up there once the green flag waves.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 15th with a time of 49.180 seconds at 183.001 mph.
“Our GoDaddy Chevy felt much better than it did in practice yesterday,” said Patrick, who will make her third career Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis. “It was really well stuck – more than I expected it to be. So, maybe I could’ve gotten a little bit out of (turns) two and four as far as speed goes, but in (turns) one and three I definitely had a little bit of chatter in the front end across the center, so I don’t think I could’ve gone too much faster. I think the fact that the car was better is a great thing. It’s a good sign for tomorrow.”
Carl Edwards led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 49.056 seconds at 183.464 mph. It was his 15th career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his first at Indianapolis.
Joey Logano will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 49.143 seconds at 183.139 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were David Ragan, Stewart, Kyle Larson, Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson. All are listed in the order they’ll start the race.
The 22nd annual Jeff Kyle Brickyard 400 gets underway at 3:30 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by NBC Sports Network beginning with a pre-race show at 3 p.m. EDT.