Date: Aug. 14, 2015
Event: Pure Michigan 400 Qualifying (Round 23 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (36.458 seconds at 197.488 mph)
SHR Lineup: Tony Stewart (5th, 36.833 seconds at 195.477 mph)
Kevin Harvick (7th, 36.876 seconds at 195.249 mph)
Kurt Busch (16th, 37.246 seconds at 193.309 mph)
Danica Patrick (23rd, 37.350 seconds at 192.771 mph)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn by setting the fifth-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Stewart turned a lap of 36.833 seconds at 195.477 mph on the 2-mile oval in the final qualifying round.
“These guys have just done an awesome job – it’s four weeks in a row now that we have qualified in the top five,” said Stewart, who won at Michigan in June 2000. “I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of the Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops team here. We just have to figure out how to finish it off for the rest of the weekend like we have.”
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.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified seventh with a time of 36.876 seconds at 195.249 mph.
“We were wide open, no brakes,” said Harvick, who won at Michigan in August 2010. “Obviously, we’ve got a little bit of a speed difference in qualifying trim than some of the other cars, but were happy with our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevy in race trim and we will go from there.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 16th with a time of 37.246 seconds at 193.309 mph.
“It wasn’t the run we were hoping for, but we’ve got two practice sessions tomorrow to fine tune our Haas Automation Chevrolet,” said Busch, a three-time Sprint Cup winner at Michigan (June 2003, August 2007 and June 2015). “We’ve got more insight than what we started with this morning, so we’ll head into Sunday’s race with better understanding on the car’s handling.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 23rd with a time of 37.350 seconds at 192.771 mph.
“That was all the GoDaddy Chevy had today,” said Patrick, who will make her sixth Sprint Cup start at Michigan on Sunday. “The guys made some good changes during practice that really helped us, and we had a good pickup, but you always want more. Luckily, we have a couple of practices tomorrow to get our car ready for the race.”
Matt Kenseth led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 36.458 seconds at 197.488 mph. It was his 16th career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his first at Michigan.
Denny Hamlin will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 36.550 seconds at 196.990 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Stewart, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
The Pure Michigan 400 gets underway at 2:30 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by NBC Sports Network.