Date: July 31, 2015
Event: Windows 10 400 Qualifying (Round 21 of 36)
Series: MNASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Pole Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (50.444 seconds at 178.416 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (2nd, 50.514 seconds at 178.168 mph)
Tony Stewart (4th, 50.667 seconds at 177.630 mph)
Kurt Busch (5th, 50.672 seconds at 177.613 mph)
Danica Patrick (20th, 51.262 seconds at 175.569 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 Pocono (Pa.) Raceway by setting the second-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s Windows 10 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick turned a lap of 50.514 seconds at 178.168 mph on the 2.5-mile triangle in the final qualifying round.
“Just really proud of everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser team for running our fastest lap in the last session,” said Harvick, who has seven top-five finishes in 29 starts at Pocono. “A lot of that lies on me for putting the lap together – something I hadn’t done over the last couple of months. I feel like we all did a good job there and made some good adjustments. I feel like I probably gave up a little bit in turn one. I got a little bit tight in the center of that corner, but all-in-all it was a good lap and I’m glad we ran our fastest speed in the last round. That is what you have to do.”
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.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS Chevrolet SS, qualified fourth with a time of 50.667 seconds at 177.630 mph.
“Chad Johnston (crew chief) came over between practice and qualifying and we went over the data and he showed me where we were losing speed,” said Stewart, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Pocono (June 2003 and June 2009). “The Rush Truck Centers Chevy has been good all day. It’s been solid. I just needed to work on a couple of things to make my qualifying run better.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified fifth with a time of 50.672 seconds at 177.613 mph.
“I thought it was a good effort,” said Busch, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Pocono (July 2005 and August 2007). “We gained speed each run. We improved the Haas Automation Chevrolet, I thought that I drove the proper lap, we just got beat. Overall I’m pleased with how we unloaded and we’ll see what we have in race trim tomorrow. The conditions are warmer this time around, so everything is a little slower right now. ”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 20th with a time of 51.262 seconds at 175.569 mph.
“We made some adjustments on our GoDaddy Chevrolet during the first round of qualifying that were really good, and I was happy with the way the car felt,” said Patrick, who will make her sixth career start at Pocono on Sunday. “But we didn't get as good a lap in the second round. The car was good in turns two and three, but it was too loose in turn one and that hurt our lap.”
Kyle Busch led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 50.444 seconds at 178.416 mph. It was his 17th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his second at Pocono.
Harvick will start on the outside of row one.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
The Windows 10 400 gets underway at 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by NBC Sports Network.