Date: Oct. 16, 2015
Event: Hollywood Casino 400 Qualifying (Round 31 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (27.621 seconds at 195.503 mph)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (4th, 27.727 seconds at 194.756 mph)
Kurt Busch (9th, 27.787 seconds at 194.335 mph)
Tony Stewart (17th, 27.859 seconds at 193.833 mph)
Danica Patrick (29th, 28.208 seconds at 191.435 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City by setting the fourth-fastest lap in qualifying for the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Harvick turned a lap of 27.727 seconds at 194.756 mph on the 1.5-mile oval in the final round of knockout qualifying.
“The car was really driving very well, so the guys went through everything and did a great job of getting everything straightened out on our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevy,” said Harvick, who rebounded from a 25th-place showing during practice earlier in the day. “That’s a win for us. We thought we were going to have to race our way from 25th, so to be fourth is a huge improvement.”
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 ninth with a time of 27.787 seconds at 194.334 mph.
“The way the lap felt, we had a really good (turns) one and two, it just didn’t come through (turns) three and four to close the lap,” said Busch, who has one top-five and five top-10 finishes in 19 career Sprint Cup starts at Kansas. “Some of it, the way that we have to get our car to finish the corner in turn four, we struggled with that a little bit today. Eight guys did it a little better than we did. We still need to find a little bit more speed out of our Haas Automation Chevrolet, but we need to keep track of our tire pressure builds for those longer runs.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Arctic Cat Chevrolet SS Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 17th with a time of 27.859 seconds at 193.833 mph.
“Our Rush Truck Centers/Arctic Cat Chevy was doing everything I asked it to do,” said Stewart, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Kansas (2006 and 2009). “I was better in (turns) three and four and while (turns) one and two were good, they weren’t as good as the last couple of runs. But overall, the car has speed and a good race pace.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 29th with a time of 28.208 seconds at 191.435 mph.
“The GoDaddy Chevrolet was tight in (turns) three and four on the first run and we tried to make an adjustment to loosen it up a bit, but we were unsuccessful and unfortunately didn’t make it to the second round,” said Patrick, who will make her seventh Sprint Cup start at Kansas Sunday. “We’ve got two practice sessions tomorrow, so we’ll take what we learned today and work hard to prepare for Sunday.”
Brad Keselowski led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 27.621 seconds at 195.503 mph. It was his 10th career Sprint Cup pole, his second of the season and his first at Kansas.
Carl Edwards will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 27.628 seconds at 195.454 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Kyle Busch, Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
The Hollywood Casino 400 gets underway at 2:15 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by NBC.