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Stewart-Haas Racing - 2014 Bristol II Qualifying
Event: Qualifying for the Irwin Tools Night Race (Round 24 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (14.607 seconds at 131.362 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 14.607 seconds at 131.362 mph)
Kurt Busch (7th, 14.654 seconds at 130.940 mph)
Danica Patrick (24th, 14.903 seconds at 128.753 mph)
Jeff Burton (25th, 14.935 seconds at 128.477 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent during Bass Pro Shops Qualifying Day at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by winning the pole for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race. It was the 19th Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s sixth this season.
Harvick turned a lap of 14.607 seconds at 131.362 mph on the .533-mile oval in the final round of qualifying, breaking the previous track qualifying record of 14.761 seconds at 129.991 mph set by Denny Hamlin on March 14, 2014. It was Harvick’s 11th career pole, his fifth this season and his first at Bristol. Prior to this year, the most poles Harvick ever won in a single season were two in 2005.
“It feels great,” said Harvick, who won at Bristol in March 2005. “Just have to thank everybody on our Jimmy John’s team for everything they do every week. The racecars they bring to the racetrack are just incredibly fast. They’ve helped improve my qualifying record a tremendous amount. Today was no different.”
Harvick’s most recent pole came July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, four races ago. Harvick has gone on to win the race from the pole four times in his career – August 2003 at Indianapolis, September 2006 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, October 2013 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and April 2014 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
Bass Pro Shops Qualifying Day consisted of two rounds. The first was 30 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 12 fastest drivers from that round advanced to the second and final round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance into the final round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified seventh with a time of 14.654 seconds at 130.940 mph.
“I felt like qualifying was a good session for us,” said Busch, who has five Sprint Cup wins at Bristol (March 2002, March 2003, August 2003, March 2004 and March 2006). “We picked up time on the second outing to bump up into the top-12. Our Haas Automation Chevy was continuously fast on its second lap. That’s a good starting spot for the race.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 24th with a time of 14.903 seconds at 128.753 mph.
“Our GoDaddy Chevy was just a little tight in qualifying. I needed it to rotate just a little more on throttle,” said Patrick, who finished 18th in the Sprint Cup Series’ last visit to Bristol in March. “Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the guys made some good changes to the car before the last run and we were able to pick up. I’m proud of the guys, and we will get after it tomorrow night.”
Jeff Burton, subbing for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 25th with a time of 14.935 seconds at 128.477 mph.
“Our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet is good,” said Burton, who has 40 career Sprint Cup starts at Bristol and won in March 2008. “I just couldn’t find a way to make speed in qualifying. The race is what’s important, and I think we’re in good shape there.”
Jeff Gordon will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 14.615 seconds at 131.290 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne. All are listed in the order they’ll start the race.
The Irwin Tools Night Race gets underway at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with a pre-race show at 7 p.m.