Date: Oct. 8, 2015
Event: Bank of America 500 Qualifying (Round 30 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (27.759 seconds at 194.532 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kurt Busch (6th, 28.036 seconds at 192.610 mph)
Kevin Harvick (11th, 28.211 seconds at 191.415 mph)
Danica Patrick (24th, 28.631 seconds at 188.607 mph)
Tony Stewart (36th, 28.915 seconds at 186.754 mph)
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 State Water Heaters Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Thursday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway by setting the sixth-fastest lap in qualifying for the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night. Busch turned a lap of 28.036 seconds at 192.610 mph on the 1.5-mile oval in the final round of knockout qualifying.
“That was a unique three rounds,” said Busch, who won the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. “We had some air pressure changes, some wedge changes – more than normal – and team communication was at an all-time high. I figured exactly what (Tony) Gibson (crew chief) was doing on the air pressure and I drove the car thinking that we had a shot at the pole, but I didn’t want to end up 12th, so I gave it a nice smooth lap. Here we are we are P6. I didn’t think a pole was obtainable and that should give us a good pit box selection.”
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.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 11th with a time of 28.211 seconds at 191.415 mph.
“I got tight,” said Harvick, who is the defending winner of the Bank of America 500.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 24th with a time of 28.631 seconds at 188.607 mph.
“The GoDaddy Chevy was just way too tight on our last run tonight, but we made it to the second round, so we’ll take it,” said Patrick, who will make her seventh Sprint Cup start at Charlotte Saturday night. “We’ve got a lot of work to do (in practice) tomorrow to get the car better for the race.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 36th with a time of 28.915 seconds at 186.754 mph.
Matt Kenseth led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 27.759 seconds at 194.532 mph. It was his 17th career Sprint Cup pole, his fourth of the season and his second at Charlotte.
Kyle Busch will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 27.957 seconds at 193.154 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. All are listed in the order they’ll start Saturday night’s race.
The Bank of America 500 gets underway at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage provided by NBC.